June 1, 2010
Sixteen years after the end of apartheid, South Africa is at a crossroads. The country that was ushered into black majority rule by African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela has held four free and fair national elections since 1994, conducted a pioneering truth-and-reconciliation process, established a respectable multiracial judiciary and maintained a robust free press. The competence and integrity of successive ANC governments have been called into question, but not their fundamental legitimacy.
May 16, 2010 |
In 1983, when Nelson Mandela was in prison and his great friend and legal partner, Oliver Tambo, was leading the African National Congress in exile, I was summoned to the ANC headquarters in Zambia. On my arrival, Tambo told me they had a problem and he hoped that I, as a lawyer in the movement, could help find a solution. The ANC, he said, had captured a number of people sent by Pretoria to infiltrate and destroy the organization, and now the ANC needed regulations on how such captives should be dealt with.
October 24, 2009 |
Some two decades ago, as this newspaper's correspondent in South Africa, I watched apartheid crumble and Nelson Mandela walk free from prison. It was a reporter's dream, covering the final gasps of an unjust system that was vilified around the world. And it had all the ingredients of a wonderful story, with courageous and malevolent characters on both sides. "Endgame," a British docu-drama on PBS this Sunday night, is an ambitious effort to turn the events leading up to that historic moment into a political thriller.
September 20, 2009 |
The sky is a clear and light enamel blue, but inside the banquet hall of the El Montecito Presbyterian Church, a light drizzle falls. You can't see the actual drops, of course, because they exist in another realm -- the bountiful imagination of "Wicked" composer-lyricist Stephen Schwartz. Schwartz is one of the American musical theater's most successful composer-lyricists, and the scene is a rehearsal for his first opera, "SÃ©ance on a Wet Afternoon," which Opera Santa Barbara will unveil Saturday at the Granada Theatre for the first of three performances.
July 30, 2009 |
When he was 13, Celi Xaba protested against South Africa's white-minority government over the lack of water in his township. Now 29, he's still protesting, and there's still no running water in Tokoza. But this time he's fighting the black-led government that promised salvation from poverty and unemployment. As thin as a whip, he stands in the bitter winter wind, his bare feet shoved into sandals a couple of sizes too small. "There's no services here.
May 22, 2009 |
Still in his late 20s, Andrew Feinstein returned to his native South Africa in the early 1990s after years of studying at Berkeley and Cambridge. He had left to avoid being drafted into the apartheid state's military -- then engaged in a dirty war on its northern border -- but with the release of Nelson Mandela, he threw himself heart and soul into the process of transforming the stricken nation into a multiracial democracy.
May 10, 2009 |
The whistle has blown, the time has come! We're taking Jacob Zuma to the Union Buildings. -- As rays of sunshine broke through after the morning's stormy downpour, the dignitaries at Jacob Zuma's inauguration Saturday in Pretoria leaped to their feet, danced, cheered and ululated as he was sworn in as the president of South Africa. At the top of their lungs, they sang about Zuma's ascent to the Union Buildings, South Africa's presidential residence and seat of government.
April 26, 2009 |
The governing African National Congress won South Africa's elections by a huge margin, according to final results announced Saturday, but fell short of the symbolically important two-thirds majority. And in a significant blow, it lost control of the Western Cape to the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance. The ANC's victory was expected, and attention had focused on whether it would continue to maintain the psychological advantage gained by winning at least two-thirds of the vote.
April 25, 2009 |
South Africa's ruling African National Congress declared victory in a general election that will make party leader Jacob Zuma president. With the African National Congress holding 66.03% of the vote with almost all the ballots counted, it was just short of keeping the two-thirds majority it needs to change the constitution at will. "The ANC has been given a clear and resounding mandate," senior party official Matthews Phosa told supporters at a victory party in Johannesburg. The ANC had less than the nearly 70% of the vote it won in 2004 and appears to have lost control of the Western Cape province, center of the tourist industry.
April 24, 2009 |
South Africa's ruling African National Congress has won a clear victory in this week's parliamentary elections, but questions remained late Thursday over whether the party would continue to hold the two-thirds majority required to change the constitution at will.