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Archive for March, 2010

General News

March 28, 2010

Local Store Debuts Nelson Mandela Comic Book

Local Store Debuts Nelson Mandela Comic Book
03/27/10 04:19PM

By Jeff Hamlin
WCHL Reporter

It’s not everyday that the words “comic book” and Nelson Mandela intersect. But that was the case at Chapel Hill Comics on Saturday, where authors of a graphic novel about the former South African president signed copies of their book.

Political Power: Nelson Mandela is a 22-page comic book biography published by Bluewater Comics. It’s suitable for all ages. The book serves as a useful and entertaining overview of the inspiring life of Nelson Mandela, arguably the best known man in African history as well as one of the most important global figures of the last century.

It was written by the husband and wife team of Clay and Susan Griffith, who have written comics and fiction for many years.

Chapel Hill Comics hasn’t been shy about weighing in on political figures in the past. They offered a special “Spider Man” comic book that commemorated the election of Barack Obama in December, 2008.

General News

March 25, 2010


Wednesday, March 24, 2010



South African Art continued its march onto the world stage as a newly appreciated art form and investment at Bonhams seventh sale of South African Art in London today (24.3.10).
Out of a total of 135 works by 42 artists 82% sold making a total of £2.6m (R28.5m) achieved by this sale, the seventh South African Art Sale in five years at Bonhams.
Works by Jacob Hendrik Pierneef, Gerard Sekoto and Maggie Laubser all beat their pre sale estimates. Top priced work in the sale was by Pierneef, titled ‘An Extensive View of Farmlands which sold for £356,000 (3.9m) against an estimate of £120,000 to £180,000.
The sale’s catalogue cover lot by Gerard Sekoto, Market Street Scene, Cape Town, sold for £192,000 (R2.1m)against an estimate of £120,000 to £180,000. And a Maggie Laubser, Woman Wearing a Red Doek, estimated at £20,000 to £30,000 sold for £50,400 (R554,000).
Giles Peppiatt, Director of South African Art at Bonhams commented after the sale: “Once again we have been delighted by the response from buyers. You would not have known in the saleroom today that we are cautiously emerging from the worst recession in 80 years. The mood was buoyant, the bidding brisk and the prices excellent. After five years of selling South African art I feel that this is not a blip or a fashion but the start of a long march to real international recognition and appreciation of this vibrant art from the tip of Africa.”Two potentially controversial items in the auction sold privately before the auction, a South African flag that had been flown by helicopter at Mandela presidential inauguration and a signed copy of the Kliptown ANC Freedom Charter. The former was bought by a private benefactor and the latter in a deal negotiated by Bonhams and the Lilliesleaf Foundation in South Africa.
A copy of the ANC Kliptown Freedom Charter of 1955 which was due to sell at Bonhams South African Sale on March 24th in London has been saved for the nation in a deal negotiated by Bonhams and the Liliesleaf Trust prior to auction.It was bought for the South African State with funds provided by The Mantis Group, Lonmin PLC and Lord Renwick.Giles Peppiatt, Director of South African Art at Bonhams, said: “This is the happiest possible outcome for the Freedom Charter. We are delighted to have been able to arrange a deal with this South African organization which was determined to see the Charter return to where it best belongs.”The vendor of the ANC Charter, Mr Leon Levy, stated: “This was always my hope, that the Charter would be returned to the State and I am delighted that this has now been achieved.”Nelson Mandela recalled in his autobiography: “The Freedom Charter captured the hopes and dreams of the people and acted as a blueprint for the liberation struggle and the future of the nation.”
The South African flag which was due to be auctioned on 24th March in the UK has been saved for the nation in an agreement negotiated by Bonhams in London. The flag signed by the three South African presidents – Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and F. W. de Klerk was flown at the historic presidential inauguration on 10th May 1994.A London based South African businessman and philanthropist who wishes to remain anonymous has offered to buy the flag for an undisclosed amount in a sale brokered by Bonhams on the understanding that it would be returned to South Africa and handed over to the South African Government.

General News

March 21, 2010

South Africa: Remembering Sharpeville Massacre

South Africa: Remembering Sharpeville Massacre

Ndesanjo Macha | 21 March 2010, 2:24 pm

On 21 March 1960 the South African police opened fire on a crowd of black protesters who were part of political campaign organized by the Pan African Congress (PAC) against pass laws. It is estimated that 69 people were killed on that day in the township of Sharpeville. This horrific event is commonly known as Sharpeville Massacre .

Sharpeville massacre was the turning point in the history of political resistance to Apartheid in South Africa. Since 1994, 21 March is Human Rights Day in South Africa. March 21 is also the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in memory of the massacre.

Every March 21st, Rethabile posts a poem to remember Sharpeville massacre. His Sharpeville poem for this year is posted on Black Looks:

the day king walked
from selma to montgomery,
the tops of trees shook
as in a forest, and shivered
for this man who had crossed a line
of centuries in the south, but
even more south, we worried for our lot,
resolved as we were to break you,
but you to put us with our ancestors.
of course there have never been questions:
why shoot them in the back? why shoot them?
why shoot? why? but our name got its shrine
where the children now gather,
for sixty-nine of us lay on the street
on that day in march sixty. as others
filled hospitals and covered cell-floors
with clenched bodies, dachau
was completed, stowe published her book,
alcatraz was shut down for good, and
we moved from non-whites
to non-carriers of passbooks.
© Rethabile Masilo

He also posts a poem by South African political activist and poet Dennis Brutus. It is titled, “A Poem About Sharpeville”:

What is important
about Sharpeville
is not that seventy died:
nor even that they were shot in the back
retreating, unarmed, defenseless
and certainly not
the heavy caliber slug
that tore through a mother’s back
and ripped through the child in her arms
killing it
Remember Sharpeville
bullet-in-the-back day
Because it epitomized oppression
and the nature of society
more clearly than anything else;
it was the classic event
Nowhere is racial dominance
more clearly defined
nowhere the will to oppress
more clearly demonstrated
what the world whispers
apartheid with snarling guns
the blood lust after
South Africa spills in the dust
Remember Sharpeville
Remember bullet-in-the-back day
And remember the unquenchable will for freedom
Remember the dead
and be glad.
© Dennis Brutus

Travel Blog Portfolio wishes all South Africans a safe and peaceful Human Rights day and ask them to learn more about Sharpeville Day.

How could such atrocities happen and no one is punished?, asks Sokari Ekine:

It’s been a long time coming, but change is gonna come, sang Sam Cooke about America. He could have been singing about South Africa, or the world, even. For what is baffling is how Sharpeville 1960, Soweto 1976, King’s and X’s murders, the Civil Rights movement, Mandela’s 27 years in jail, not to mention the thousands tortured and killed in South Africa, and tortured and lynched in America, what is baffling is how these have not entered the minds of all and instructed them on the evils of discrimination and segregation in all its forms. That is truly baffling to me.

It is also amazingly stunning that all these things happened and almost no one got punished for it, no international hunt for the wrong-doers, no motivation to see them “brought to justice,” as George Bush the son would say about so many who had committed so less. Today is a day to remember and to know why it should be remembered

Alpha Christian discusses the link between Good Friday, Human Rights Day and Sharpeville Day:

In a recent column in the Beeld, Nico Botha, deals with this anomaly where the Good Friday falls on the same date as the Human Rights Day, or, even better, the commemoration of Sharpeville Day. For many the debate was whether we will loose a public holiday as workers.

Where are we to find the key to link Good Friday to the significance of today, Human Rights day, Sharpeville day ?
I believe the little dialogue between Jesus and Pilate helps us to start to understand this link.

Michael Trapido remembers this day in his post on Thought Leader titled Sharpeville Redux and a Bit More:

On that fateful day a group of between 5 000 and 7 000 people converged on the local police station in the township of Sharpeville, offering themselves up for arrest for not carrying their pass books.

As the large crowd gathered the atmosphere was peaceful and festive with less than 20 police officers in the station at the start of the protest. Police and military tried using low-flying jet fighters in an attempt disperse the crowd without success.

As a result the police set up Saracen armoured vehicles in a line facing the protesters and, at 13:15, incredibly, opened fire on the crowd.

He continues:

The official casualties were 69 people killed, including 8 women and 10 children, with more than 180 injured.

To date the worst case of police insanity in the history of this country.

As a result there followed a spontaneous uprising among black South Africans with demonstrations, protest marches, strikes, and riots taking place throughout the country.

This led to the government declaring a state of emergency on March 30 1960, which saw more than 18 000 people detained.

Texas In Africa notes that Sharpeville was the first major turning point in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and that the massacre led to the militarisation of the anti-apartheid movement:

The rest of the world started to question the regime’s racist policies much more openly; South Africa left the commonwealth a year later.

It also provoked the militarization of the anti-apartheid movement. The ANC’s militant wing, MK (Umkhonto wa Sizwe) and Poqo, the military wing of the PAC, both formed soon after the massacre. The next thirty years were marked with horrific acts of violence before – to almost everyone’s surprise – the evil of apartheid ended peacefully.

Five years later to the day, American civil rights protesters led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began marching from Selma to Montgomery. The attempt by 600 marchers to do the same thing three weeks earlier culminated in Bloody Sunday, an attack by local and state law enforcement officials. With a protective order from a federal judge, five times as many marchers turned out for the March 21 walk. A few months later, LBJ signed the Voting Rights Act, which effectively ended the last vestiges of legal discrimination in the south.

My students (whom, you will remember, are almost all black men) sometimes debate the question: “Are you a Malcolm or a Martin?” What they mean by this is, “Is social change best achieved through peaceful means (as MLK carried out his work) or violent means (as Malcolm X advocated)?”

I cannot even begin to claim to be qualified to answer this question. If we look at political history, it’s clear that MLK’s nonviolent methods worked to restore voting rights and some degree of social equality for American minorities, and they worked relatively quickly. MK and Poqo’s violent methods certainly also had an effect on the apartheid regime, although the struggle was very long and ultimately did not end because of violence but rather because of economic turmoil and Mandela’s willingness to negotiate a peaceful settlement with de Klerk. But nothing approaching true equality of economic opportunity has happened for the vast majority of blacks in either country.

Abioye discusses the international dimension of Sharpeville Day:

In 1966 the General Assembly of the UN proclaimed March 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The UN called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination. The Canadian government and various institutions in Canada including Carleton University and the University of Toronto, colluded with the white supremacist apartheid government of South Africa by refusing to
divest and continuing to trade with the government and South African companies.

South Africa Good News has posted a statement from Nelson Mandela Foundation:

March 21, 2010, marks 50 years since 69 unarmed protestors were killed by South African police outside a police station in Sharpeville, south of Johannesburg.

Nelson Mandela burning his pass on March 28, 1960, in protest to the atrocities at SharpevilleWhen commemorating Human Rights day, during his presidency, Nelson Mandela said: “21 March is South African Human Rights Day. It is a day which, more than many others, captures the essence of the struggle of the South African people and the soul of our non-racial democracy. March 21 is the day on which we remember and sing praises to those who perished in the name of democracy and human dignity. It is also a day on which we reflect and assess the progress we are making in enshrining basic human rights and values.”

Photographer Greg Marinovich has Sharpeville Massacre photos on his blog.

The Sharpeville Massacre led to new ways of political organisation and resistance. The African National Congress (ANC) and the Pan African Congress (PAC) were banned after the Sharpeville Massacre.

Monako Dibetle notes in his column in the Mail & Guardian that Sharpeville is still bleeding. Recently, the residents of Sharpeville rioted over poor social services .

General News

March 20, 2010

Graca defends Mandela’s legacy

Posted Saturday, March 20 2010 at 19:05

The wife to former South African President Nelson Mandela on Saturday defended his leadership and democratic achievements.

Posted Saturday, March 20 2010 at 19:05

The wife to former South African President Nelson Mandela on Saturday defended his leadership and democratic achievements.

Ms Graca Machel Mandela spoke in Nairobi in the wake of harsh criticism on Mr Mandela from his former wife, Ms Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Saying that the former head of state cannot at any time be considered a failure in his leadership and struggle, she termed any talk of his alleged failure a figment of the imagination and challenged those harbouring such notions to enlist services of opinion pollsters.

“Nobody can doubt Madiba’s contribution. He brought freedom and that is the cornerstone of success for humanity.

Let me not praise him since we are close but ask anybody in South Africa,” she said.

Speaking on the sidelines of the African Women Economic Summit sponsored by the African Development Bank, Mrs Mandela, who skirted any reference to Ms Madikizela-Mandela, said her husband did what he could at the right time.

Mr Mandela, who stepped down as president in 1999, has been accused by his former wife of betraying South Africa’s black people.

Ms Madikizela-Mandela said he had done nothing for the poor and should not have accepted the Nobel Peace Prize with the man who jailed him, former president F W de Klerk.

The 73-year-old said her ex-husband had become a “corporate foundation” who was “wheeled out” only to raise money for the Africa National Congress party.

The contributions of Steve Biko and others in the war on apartheid were overlooked, she said.

She was quoted to have said: “This name Mandela is an albatross around the necks of my family.”

The comments were allegedly made in an interview with Nadira Naipaul, wife of novelist V S Naipaul.

Winnie has however said the article, published in London’s Evening Standard newspaper last week was a fabrication.

But the newspaper defended its article, saying Nadira Naipaul had visited Madikizela-Mandela at her home in Soweto near Johannesburg and spoken to her “at length about her experiences”.

General News

March 14, 2010