“Even Kenyan-style power-sharing fudges are every day becoming less acceptable.   As Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda and, most recently, South Sudan have shown, the democratically determined will of the people is starting to reflect just that in the shape of the government that follows — it is made up of the people, by the people, for the people”.

Extracts from an article in Business Day today by Michael Power, a strategist at Investec Asset Management – Bono was right: the people’s ‘Beautiful Day’ grows closer

“SURELY U2’s visit to Africa’s shores this week is not mere coincidence?   Already this year, we have had three Beautiful Days on our continent: on January 14, Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fled his country; on February 7, South Sudan overwhelmingly confirmed its preference for independence; and on February 11, Hosni Mubarak resigned as Egypt’s president”.

“Last year, in a self-deprecating and insightful opinion piece in The New York Times, called Africa Reboots, Bono — U2’s lead singer and campaigner-in-chief for Africa — talked of a new rhythm beating on our continent, one that sees aid as a necessary but dying echo of the West’s historic entanglements.   He noted that ‘smart aid can be a reforming tool, demanding accountability and transparency, rewarding measurable results, reinforcing the rule of law, but never imagining for a second that it’s a substitute for trade, investment or self-determination’.”

“With the passage of time and the passing of Africa’s postcolonial generation, our continent has — always hesitantly, not always straightforwardly — started to take the advice of a great Jamaican political philosopher and ‘emancipate (y)ourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds’.   I am, of course, quoting the late Bob Marley.   (What I would give to hear U2 sing Redemption Song!)”

“So when President Jacob Zuma offers an olive branch to business — as he did in last week’s state of the nation speech — the smart will grasp it for what it is: new thinking that is made in SA for SA”.

“Tellingly, even the Democratic Alliance’s response to his new vision was refreshingly constructive.   But there still is much work to be done, with many roadblocks to be unblocked, not least of all those that are centred on corruption”.

“As Bono noted in last year’s article: entrepreneurs know that even a good relationship with a bad government stymies foreign investment; civil society knows a resource-rich country can have more rather than fewer problems, unless corruption is tackled.   Here then, each African that makes up our civil society has a critical part to play: don’t be afraid to expose corruption when you see it”.