September 23, 1990 |
Lying in a Mozambican hospital and learning that he has lost an arm and an eye in a bomb attack that crumpled his car, African National Congress lawyer Albie Sachs is overcome by a feeling of profound elation. The feeling turns out to be neither ephemeral nor drug-induced: "Running to Maputo" is an unflinchingly loving and affirmative book, enticingly mysterious for the way it seems to draw strength from such an act of malice.
May 21, 2006 |
Casting With a Fragile Thread A Story of Sisters and Africa Wendy Kann Henry Holt: 284 pp., $23 DEATH, writes Wendy Kann, was background noise, a kind of "general death hum" during the civil war that began in 1966 when more than 200,000 white Rhodesian settlers fled the country, chased by guerrilla leader Robert Mugabe. Kann and her two sisters learned "not to think too closely about race," she admits in "Casting With a Fragile Thread."
January 4, 1990 |
With the Berlin Wall down, Western magazines are charging in to give Americans their first good peek behind the Iron Curtain. The most revealing uncoverage to date may be "The Women of Russia," in the February Playboy. An accompanying article by photo editor Jeff Cohen details the relatively ho-hum derring-do that went into capturing the naked truth about the evil empire on film. But if glasnost has taught us anything, it's that folks are all pretty much alike underneath, right?
November 4, 1990 |
In a popular variation of an Indian creation story, a young boy asks his father what holds up the world. Well-versed in mythology, the father promptly replies that the world rests on the back of a very large turtle. "But what holds up the turtle?," the boy asks. After a moment's reflection, the father responds, "A huge elephant." As might be expected, the son still is not satisfied and proceeds to ask, "And what is under the elephant?"
October 6, 1991 |
In the republic of pluck and elbow grease, the mythic America that exerts such influence on the actual one, the playing field is invariably level. Class and race matter not. They exist, of course, but only as incidental traits, spices for the melting pot. We want to see our nation as one of those populist bomber crews from a war movie, superficially diverse but ultimately equal. This ideal, however, harbors a dark side.
December 27, 1992 |
I first went to Africa when I was 16. Along with other American schoolboys, led by an English explorer, we sailed from Southampton, bunking in the cheapest cabin on a converted Liberty ship. For two weeks we rode Atlantic rollers and listened to the anguished anticipation of fellow travelers, Southern Africans returning to the continent of theirbirth.