Violent protests in South Africa
Special to USAfricaonline.com
Growing discontent in South Africa’s impoverished towns has sparked protests. Police clash with protesters who demand better services like sanitation and electricity.
Protesters marched the streets of Standerton in the north east of the country on Wednesday and Thursday. Police fired shots after cars were overturned. A helicopter circled the township as the protesters started to disperse but the situation remained tense.
Widespread frustration over poor infrastructure has sparked protests since elections in April.
With the growing discontent, new President Jacob Zuma is pressured to meet his promise of easing inequality in South Africa. There are millions who are still living in poverty 15 years after the end of apartheid. However the government has fallen short in meeting demands for better basic services like water, electricity, health care and education.
The country’s first recession since 1992 only adds to the tension.
Exclusive USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston commentary, April 1999.
In April 1999, I wrote this, another of my word portraits of the Rt. Hon. Dr. Nelson Mandela, a man who is certainly the greatest political figure in the recent history of people of African ancestry. He
talked the talk, and walked the walk. He’s at once visionary and practician; excuse the latter usage.
In my view, there’s a compelling political trinity to Nelson Mandela: the man, the messiah and the mystique. Hence, it was during his 80th birthday on July 18, 1998 that I argued in various media outlets in Southern Africa and in the Voice of America and WorldNet television tribute to Mandela that those who expected him to turn their lives around by the break of dawn are awakening to a certain realization that the Messiah Mandela does not make milk through incantations! Yet, we must accept the fact that those who feel that President Mandela’s government has failed to fulfil their yearnings and lofty expectations constitute a sizeable but smaller slice of millions of Black and Colored South Africans.
I recall taking time out from the 100 year-old hotel in which we were lodged in Cape Town late March, 1998, (during our visit with U.S President Bill Clinton to parts of Africa) to go into the less-privileged, run-down quarters of the city to talk with a number of suffering Blacks. I also shared some time with some homeless teenagers ( five of them, aged between 8 and 19) and a few weary adults (in their 40s and 60s). I sought to know their assessment of President Mandela. Their refrain: Mandela needs to do more! They feel he is forgetting “us.” They all said in many ways: “We thought his presidency was going to completely and quickly improve our lives. We’re left out. We’re not happy….”
Translation: Idealism meets scarce resources in South Africa! In South Africa, I noticed that the radical Blacks and Coloreds still see Mandela, wrongly I must add, as a dignified caretaker for the remnants of apartheid. On the other side, interestingly, the previous beneficiaries and yesterday’s oppressors, largely the Afrikaans, think Blacks are taking too much away, already. Those questions will be a challenge for Mandela’s technocratic and very able successor Thabo Mbeki.
I feel a special interest regarding Mandela and South Africa, among other personal reasons, for his years of statesmanship, principled engagement with life and its multifarious challenges and inequities. Also, I’ve had the privilege of meeting three of the four most significant historical figures who play(ed) very important roles in that country’s transition from apartheid to a multi-racial society. First, the remarkable former President F.W de Klerk here in Houston. Then, the amiable Bishop Desmond Tutu. Of course, the Mahdiba himself, Nelson Mandela.
Why do we celebrate Mandela’s life? Full text of commentary/insight here https://usafricaonline.com/chido1999.mandelatribute.html
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