The Foreign Service Journal, October 2004

increase [funding] for the AIDS battle? Will there be more trade concessions and market access? Will the U.S. be forceful in the Sudan?” In any case, anti-U.S. sentiments among South Africa’s black majority predate Bush, Habib says. Many people believe the demise of apartheid would have come about much sooner if the U.S. had taken a more forceful stand against the now-defunct National Party. “Anti-Bush senti- ments are relatively new and cut across racial lines,” he notes. He maintains that, in general, black South Africans are more comfortable with a Democratic administration in Washington. Nelson Mandela, although no longer presi- dent of South Africa, remains a godlike figure, and his con- demnation of Bush has helped shape South African views of the presidential incumbent. The exceptions are mostly white right-wingers and religious conservatives, who iden- tify with Bush’s views on abortion and gay marriage. Henry Jeffreys also cautions that South African animos- ity toward Bush should not be seen as anti-Americanism. “People still see ordinary Americans as nice people. We embrace so much of the American culture ... blue jeans, hip-hop. We like and emulate all that is good about America.” And he points out that, “No matter who is in the White House, South Africa has to do business with the U.S.” The country is keenly aware that whoever occupies the White House will influence the extent of U.S. engage- ment on issues like trade, the fight against HIV/AIDS and support for African peacekeeping missions. Finally, South Africans are also keen on somebody in the White House who will loosen U.S. immigration poli- cies, which were tightened after 9/11. About 40 percent of South Africans are jobless and many more are working poor. That, combined with the resultant high rate of vio- lent crime, is driving many professionals to seek a better economic future in the U.S. When it comes to the sur- vival of their families, many South Africans will jump at the chance to swear allegiance to the American flag, no matter what they think of whoever is leading the country. So rest assured, South Africa will be tuned in to the news on Nov. 2. F O C U S O C T O B E R 2 0 0 4 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L 25