Published 06/06/23
Stephen Sackur is in Cape Town to speak to political cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro (Zapiro). Can satire work in a country still recovering from the prolonged trauma of apartheid?
Published 06/06/23
Stephen Sackur speaks to Abdullah Mohtadi, the leader of the Iranian Kurdish political movement Komala. From his exile in Iraq, he’s one of many voices calling for freedom and democracy in Iran. But what do Iran’s Kurds really want - more rights or independence?
Published 06/04/23
The acclaimed Ghanaian writer Ama Ata Aidoo has died aged 81. A former education minister for a brief period in Ghana, she arguably did more than any other writer to depict and celebrate the condition of women in Africa. Zeinab Badawi spoke with her in 2014. How much is there really to celebrate about being female in Africa? Image: Ama Ata Aidoo, pictured in 2017 (Credit: Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP via Getty Images)
Published 06/02/23
The African National Congress has dominated South African politics for the last 29 years, but the party of Nelson Mandela is in trouble. A power crisis is doing new damage to an economy already hit by shocking levels of poverty, inequality and corruption. If the ANC is faltering, who stands best placed to offer an alternative? Stephen Sackur speaks to the leader of the radical populist Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema. What will happen to South Africa if he gets even a share of power?
Published 06/02/23
Stephen Sackur speaks to American writer, academic and cultural commentator Roxane Gay. Her unflinching, extraordinary memoir Hunger deals with her experience of rape and obesity. How scary is the level of self-exposure in much of her writing?
Published 06/02/23
Coming up after the news from the BBC World Service, it’s HARDtalk with me Stephen Sackur. The influential British author Martin Amis has died at his home in Florida aged 73. Stephen Sackur interviewed him in 2013 after the release of his novel Lionel Asbo: State of England. He was pigeon-holed early in his career as the ‘enfant terrible’ of the British literary world and throughout his career he remained one of the most closely scrutinised novelists of his generation. His books were filled...
Published 05/31/23
Stephen Sackur speaks to John Steenhuisen, the leader of South Africa’s biggest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance. He thinks South Africans are ready to throw out the ANC thanks to their failure to fix the economy, the energy sector and corruption, but is he a credible alternative?
Published 05/29/23
The ANC has ruled in South Africa since the racist apartheid system was overthrown. But right now the country is in a big mess, with a protracted energy crisis, unemployment, inequality and systemic corruption. Stephen Sackur is in Johannesburg to speak to Fikile Mbalula, secretary general of the ANC. Many South Africans feel their country is failing. With elections looming, will the ANC pay the price?
Published 05/24/23
Zeinab Badawi speaks to the British artist and filmmaker Sir Isaac Julien, whose forty year career is steeped in powerful cultural and political messages. What is more important to him: Art or activism?
Published 05/19/23
Stephen Sackur speaks to the actor Jane Horrocks, whose extraordinary range has seen her star in musicals, comedies and gritty dramas. In a capricious, sometimes cruel industry, she embraced writing as well as performing. Was that her pathway to empowerment?
Published 05/17/23
The Humboldt Forum is one of Germany’s great cultural institutions, housing a collection of thousands of works of non-European art. Germany, like many former imperial powers, is now asking itself whether treasures grabbed by European colonisers should be returned to their countries of origin. Stephen Sackur interviews the director of the Humboldt, Hartmut Dorgerloh. Is Germany taking the lead in the restoration movement?
Published 05/11/23
Stephen Sackur talks to Seychelles President Wavel Ramkalawan. His tiny nation is a tourist magnet, but there are huge challenges: climate change, a shocking rate of heroin addiction and a political culture tainted by corruption allegations. Is this a case of paradise lost?
Published 05/10/23
Stephen Sackur speaks to Austria’s former foreign minister, Karin Kneissl. Her ties to Moscow are close - Vladimir Putin attended her wedding, she sat on the board of a Russian energy company, and condemns Europe's arming of Ukraine on Russian TV. What does her story say about Vienna’s close ties to Moscow and the impact of Austria’s neutrality?
Published 05/08/23
It is more than 60 years since the Dalai Lama fled Tibet and set up a government-in-exile, hopeful of one day going back. Since then, China has banned any mention of the spiritual leader in his homeland, and there are reports of widespread human rights abuses. Sarah Montague speaks to the president of that self-declared government-in-exile, Penpa Tsering. Will he ever get to see his ancestral homeland, let alone govern it?
Published 05/05/23
Stephen Sackur is in Berlin to talk to the influential chair of the German parliament's defence committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann. Has Russia’s invasion of Ukraine really led to a fundamental strategic rethink in Berlin?
Published 05/03/23
Stephen Sackur is in Berlin for a special interview with Niels Annen, Germany’s State Secretary for Economic Co-operation. For decades Germany built its economic power on Russian energy and trade with China – that has left Germany looking vulnerable. So what is the new strategy? (Photo: Niels Annen, State Secretary for Economic Co-operation)
Published 04/27/23
Stephen Sackur speaks to the acclaimed Senegalese musician Baaba Maal. His records and musical collaborations have won him millions of fans worldwide, and he’s intent on helping his native Sahel region overcome its many challenges. Can this music icon make a difference?
Published 04/26/23
Stephen Sackur speaks to the pioneering performance poet John Cooper Clarke. From his early days as the bard of punk to a decade lost to heroin and then the worldwide success of his poem I Wanna Be Yours and now a new tour, John Cooper Clarke has used words, rhythm and rhyme to find humour and truth in the chaos of everyday life. Where does his word magic come from?
Published 04/24/23
Earlier this week, Russian political activist Vladimir Kara-Murza was sentenced to 25 years in prison in Russia for charges linked to his criticism of the war in Ukraine. He was found guilty of treason, spreading "false" information about the Russian army and being affiliated with an "undesirable organisation" – charges he denied. In 2017, HARDtalk spoke to him as he recovered in the US from what he said was a poisoning attempt in Moscow. Shortly before, he had been rushed to hospital in the...
Published 04/21/23
Stephen Sackur speaks to Péter Szijjártó, Hungary’s foreign minister. Budapest is an outlier in both the EU and Nato, unwilling to arm Ukraine, eager to maintain close ties with Moscow, and dismissing demands to respect EU values. Will its defiance come at a price?
Published 04/19/23
Stephen Sackur speaks to Christo Grozev, Bellingcat's lead Russia investigator. His work has exposed crimes and embarrassed the Kremlin. What motivates this digital detective?
Published 04/16/23
Stephen Sackur speaks to Israeli MP and former UN ambassador Danny Danon. Amid political turmoil at home, a deteriorating security situation and stinging criticism from Israel’s allies overseas is the Netanyahu administration now jeopardising Israel’s future?
Published 04/13/23
Ben Ferencz, the last surviving prosecutor from the Nuremberg Nazi trials, has died aged 103. He also helped liberate the death camps of Europe when he was serving in the US military. In 2017, Zeinab Badawi travelled to Florida to interview him at his home. Did he believe the Nuremberg trials have made genocide and crimes against humanity less likely to be committed in the world today?
Published 04/11/23
As President Biden visits Belfast and Dublin to mark 25 years of the Good Friday Agreement, Stephen Sackur speaks to Congressman Richard Neal, an influential voice when it comes to US policy on Northern Ireland. Will US/UK relations be tied to what happens next in Northern Ireland?
Published 04/09/23