6 people to watch in Southern Africa in 2014

By The Africa Report

Posted on January 31, 2014 17:56

Southern Africa’s people to watch list for 2014 could be a sign of interesting political events ahead in the region.

Angola – Edson Chagas: Angolan art ambassador

Tipped as an emerging talent, this Angolan artist was the man behind the Angola pavilion victory at the Venice Biennale in June 2013. Chagas’s winning installation in the Palazzo Cini featured piles of photographs of objects he found in Luanda. He was among the few African artists featured at the 2013 Frieze Art Fair in London and was also an instrumental artist at the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair at London’s Somerset House, where he participated in animated panel discussions with the event’s directors. Chagas lives in Luanda and is the image editor for the newspaper Expansão. In May 2014, he will be among artists taking part in the Art for the World exhibition in Geneva.

South Africa – Mzwandile Masina: Mending the broken ANC Youth League

The Africa National Congress (ANC) expects Masina to gather in the youth vote ahead of the 2014 elections. As convenor of the ANC Youth League, Masina took over the dysfunctional organisation from firebrand Julius Malema but was muzzled by a High Court in November, which put it under provisional liquidation. A decision is expected on 27 January. Masina tweets all the right things about young people in South Africa; he also has close ties to senior ANC officials like Jacob Zuma’s former spokesperson Zizi Kodwa and Gauteng premier Novmula Mokonyane.

Zambia – Wynter Kabimba: Facing division within the party

Until recently the secretary general of the governing Patriotic Front (PF) looked in pole position to succeed President Michael Sata, who is unlikely to seek re-election in 2016 because of his health and advanced age. But at a party meeting in October, a faction led by finance minister Alexander Chikwanda tried to oust him. Kabimba counts The Post editor Fred M’membe and director of public prosecutions Mutembo Nchito as key allies, but he remains unpopular. He has spent the past two years expanding his influence and enhancing his national appeal. The PF is dominated by representatives of the Bemba ethnic group, and Kabimba is from a small ethnic group in central Zambia.

Mozambique – Margarida Talapa: Firm hand for FRELIMO’s northern front

Stage managing the 2014 elections for the ruling Frente de Libertação de Moçambique (FRELIMO) in the north, Talapa also helped President Armando Guebuza sideline rivals at a 2013 party conference. With political roots in the northern provinces, she vehemently dismisses the Resistência Nacional Moçambicana militants who have attempted to rekindle the civil war. When Guebuza steps down in 2014, she could face testing times if the group around former prime minister Luisa Diogo and former first lady Graça Machel prevails.

Malawi – Lazarus Chakwera: Cleric with an outside chance

A former president of the Malawi Assemblies of God, Lazarus Chakwera has flung the election race wide open ahead of the 2014 polls. In August, the 58-year-old cleric became leader of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), that of Malawi’s first president, Hastings Banda. Despite its popularity in the populous Central Region, the MCP did not have a strong chance of a high turnout until Chakwera brought some new life to the race.

Zimbabwe – John Mangudya: A banker to fill Gono’s boots

The group chief executive of CBZ Holdings, Zimbabwe’s largest bank, is touted to succeed central bank governor Gideon Gono, whose term expires at the end of 2013. At his discretion, President Robert Mugabe could use his powers to extend Gono’s term. Gono has been a key Mugabe ally and presided over the era of money printing that caused years of hyperinflation. Mangudya, a former president of the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe, has been in the banking sector for years and has worked at CBZ in different capacities. Under Mangudya, CBZ became the first bank to partner with Econet Wireless’s popular EcoCash facility that allows Econet’s more than eight million subscribers to make instant deposits and withdrawals via mobile phones.

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