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South Africa

  • Originally published 04/03/2015

    Old Colonial Statues are in the Crosshairs in South Africa

    On March 9, a South African student protester tossed feces on a statue of British colonialist Cecil John Rhodes at the University of Cape Town, igniting nationwide calls to remove other statues of former white leaders.

  • Originally published 02/25/2015

    Fidel Castro and Apartheid

    Matt Peppe

    Cuba’s intervention in Angola managed to change the course of that country and reverberate throughout Africa.

  • Originally published 08/13/2014

    South African Resigns From Parliament After Degree Is Questioned

    Mr. Jordan — a 72-year-old historian who used the title “Dr.” but lacked the Ph.D. from the London School of Economics that he had claimed on his résumé — issued an apology to the governing African National Congress and to the country.

  • Originally published 12/10/2013

    Nelson Mandela, Communist

    Bill Keller

    Yes, the fact that Mandela was a member of the South African Communist Party matters, but not in the way you think.

  • Originally published 12/08/2013

    The GOP's Mandela Problem

    Juan Cole

    Rick Santorum compares apartheid to Obamacare, Rush Limbaugh complains about all of Mandela's media attention, and Dick Cheney is STILL defending his vote against sanctioning the apartheid government.

  • Originally published 12/06/2013

    The Character of Nelson Mandela

    Max Boot

    Mandela belongs to the same pantheon of insurgents as George Washington, Michael Collins, and David Ben-Gurion.

  • Originally published 12/06/2013

    The Contradictions of Mandela

    Zakes Mda

    He was avuncular, but disciplined, a disciple of Marx and Lenin but deeply traditionalist. He was above all a human being.

  • Originally published 07/08/2013

    As Mandela lies dying, disputes over his legacy are taking hold

    JOHANNESBURG — The nasty family squabble over where three of former President Nelson Mandela’s children, and eventually the leader himself, will be buried drew to a close on Thursday morning in a small village on the Eastern Cape.But not before it had thrown into relief the perhaps inevitable disputes over the revered leader’s legacy — both the financial legacy, which his family is wrestling over, and more broadly, the political legacy of how Mr. Mandela will be remembered and how his story will guide the country he led.Mandla Mandela, the former president’s eldest grandson and heir as tribal leader in the region, held a news conference in his compound in Mvezo saying that he would cease his legal battles to have the bodies kept there. In 2011, he moved the bodies to Mvezo from another small village, Qunu, where the rest of the Mandela family wanted them and where the anti-apartheid leader is said to wish to be buried himself. By late afternoon, the bodies were reburied in Qunu....

  • Originally published 07/08/2013

    Mandela: Inspiration for an era of activism

    LONDON — In the welter of passion and memory surrounding the decline of Nelson Mandela, a more modest commemoration slipped by a week ago that said much about the role he played as an inspiration in his long years of imprisonment, when the daily grind of struggle against apartheid fell to others who fought in his name.It was a reminder, too, that the battle to end white rule was fought on many levels, ranging from the activism of anti-apartheid exiles here in London to a brutal shadow war in South Africa itself that offered no quarter to those seeking a new order.The events of June 27, 1985, offered a particular insight.

  • Originally published 07/08/2013

    Where Mandela Kept Hope, Guide Tells Their Shared Saga

    CAPE TOWN, South Africa — As Ahmed Kathrada led President Obama and his family recently through the prison on Robben Island where Mr. Kathrada had spent much of his life, he explained how the rules of apartheid had granted him, because of his Indian ancestry, long pants and socks. One of his fellow inmates, Nelson Mandela, as a black man, received short pants and no socks.Mr. Kathrada, 83, also showed the Obamas the sign listing the different amounts of sugar, coffee, soup and other foods that South Africa’s prison system had apportioned to blacks; mixed-race inmates, who were known as coloreds; Indians; and whites.“In everything there was apartheid,” he said in an interview on Thursday in his small apartment here in the shadow of Table Mountain....

  • Originally published 06/24/2013

    Nelson Mandela in critical condition for second day

    JOHANNESBURG — President Jacob Zuma said on Monday that Nelson Mandela remained in critical condition for a second day in a hospital in Pretoria where he is being treated for a lung infection.“Doctors are doing everything possible to ensure his well-being and comfort,” Mr. Zuma said at a news conference in Johannesburg, but he gave few details about the condition of Mr. Mandela, who was hospitalized on June 8.Mr. Zuma spoke as South Africans and admirers around the world awaited word on the condition of Mr. Mandela, the iconic leader who played a towering role in his country’s transition from white minority rule under the system of apartheid to multiracial democracy in 1994....

  • Originally published 04/01/2013

    Roy Robins: After Mandela

    Roy Robins is a writer based in Cape Town.CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Late on Wednesday night, March 27, former South African president Nelson Mandela was admitted to an undisclosed hospital for a recurring lung infection. This is the third time Mandela has been hospitalized in recent months. He spent a weekend in hospital in early March for what the government described as a "check-up," and most of December in hospital, where he was treated for a lung infection and had his gallstones removed. The last time Mandela was seen in public was almost three years ago, at the closing ceremony of the 2010 World Cup, in Johannesburg. But that doesn't mean that he's not still everywhere.

  • Originally published 04/01/2013

    Amina Cachalia turned down Nelson Mandela's offer of marriage, son claims

    "I can't help it if the ladies take note of me," Nelson Mandela once said. "I am not going to protest."The thrice-married former president of South Africa is a celebrated charmer who, even in old age, has captivated celebrities such as Naomi Campbell and the Spice Girls. But one woman, it has been claimed, turned down a proposal of marriage from Mandela before he went on to wed his current wife, Graça Machel.Amina Cachalia, a distinguished activist in the anti-apartheid struggle, politely rebuffed the great statesman in the 1990s, according to her son, Ghaleb."She called me and my sister aside and said she wanted to tell us about this proposal and that she was not going to accept it," Ghaleb said on Monday. "She was very matter of fact about it."...

  • Originally published 03/28/2013

    Nelson Mandela admitted to hospital

    Nelson Mandela has been admitted to hospital with a recurrence of a lung infection, the South African government said on Thursday.A statement said the 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader and former president was admitted shortly before midnight. It gave no further details other than to say he was receiving the "best possible expert medical treatment and comfort". Mandela has a history of lung problems dating back to when he contracted tuberculosis as a political prisoner....

  • Originally published 03/21/2013

    Khadija Patel: The Unexamined Massacre of the Marikana Miners

    Khadija Patel is a journalist and columnist with The Daily Maverick, an online publication based in Johannesburg, South Africa.Fifty three years to the day of the Sharpeville massacre, when police gunned down 69 people outside a police station south of Johannesburg, it's a national holiday in South Africa. Like other countries, we have successfully confined the horrors of our past to museums and national holidays. Few complain about a day off. But the brutality, mindless violence, injustice and oppression that catalysed into the Sharpeville massacre is still echoed in the experience of South Africans to this day.

  • Originally published 03/21/2013

    Anne Applebaum: South Africa’s Unfinished Revolution

    Anne Applebaum is a Washington Post columnist.Twenty years ago, I visited South Africa and got lost. I set out from my hotel in Durban in search of a small black college where some leaders of the African National Congress (ANC) party were meeting before the country’s first post-apartheid elections. I drove around Durban’s white suburbs for hours, looking for a building that was not on my map because, technically, it was not in Durban. It was in KwaZulu, one of the black “homelands” that existed alongside but legally separate from the white neighborhoods. When I stopped for directions, nobody I asked had ever heard of the college, even though it was only a few miles away.

  • Originally published 01/31/2013

    Mali manuscripts in Timbuktu are mostly safe, South Africa university says

    JOHANNESBURG — Islamist extremists damaged or stole only a limited number of manuscripts in Timbuktu in Mali before they fled the fabled desert city, a South African university said Wednesday.People in the north Malian city who have knowledge of the documents reported that there was no malicious destruction of any library or collection, said the University of Cape Town, which helped fund a state-of-the-art library to house manuscripts.“The custodians of the libraries worked quietly throughout the rebel occupation of Timbuktu to ensure the safety of their materials,” said the university. Islamist rebels have been in control of Timbuktu for nearly 10 months....

  • Originally published 06/28/2014

    50 Years of Mischief: The Triumph and Trashing of the Civil Rights Act

    Liberty and Power

    July 2 marks the 50th anniversary of the most famous Civil Rights Act in U.S history. Passed after the longest debate in congressional history, the Civil Rights Act (CRA) promised to secure justice for all regardless of race, color, creed, sex, or national origin. As I wrote in Race and Liberty: The Essential Reader, the law “was understood to mean ‘colorblindness’ by nearly every observer at the time.” The plain meaning of the act might be summed up as: “Nondiscrimination. Period.”