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South Africa Archives - Institute of the Black World 21st Century

A relief sculpture of the goddess Mami Wata on the wall of a voodoo temple in Benin.

Mermaids Have Always Been Black

By Editors' Choice

The uproar over Disney casting Halle Bailey as the Little Mermaid overlooks generations of Caribbean and African folklore. By Tracey Baptiste, The New York Times — As a young child growing up in Trinidad and Tobago within sight and walking distance of the Caribbean Sea, I was gripped by the intrigue of mermaids. I was introduced to one version of a mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen, whose tale of a magical girl…

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Lynchings happened across the U.S., including the 1916 lynching of Jesse Washington in Waco, Texas.

Maryland has created a truth commission on lynchings – can it deliver?

By Commentaries/Opinions

By Kelebogile Zvobgo — Between 1850 and 1950, thousands of African American men, women and children were victims of lynchings: public torture and killings carried out by white mobs. Lynchings were used to terrorize and control black people, notably in the South following the end of slavery. Yet despite the prevalence and seriousness of the practice, there has been an “astonishing absence of any effort to acknowledge, discuss, or address lynching,” reports the Equal…

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Jorian Reeves

Discovering the Excellence Within: Realizing My Greatness in South Africa

By Editors' Choice

Jorian Reeves, Xavier University of Louisiana, reflects on CIEE’s 2018 Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship experience in Cape Town. By Jorian Reeves Xavier University, Louisiana’s College of Pharmacy  I had my first taste of global cultural learning in 2015 when I traveled to Qatar at the age of 14 for a week-long Arabic debate competition. Two years earlier, in seventh grade, I had started taking Arabic classes at Lindbolm Math and…

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WBAI Fund Drive Edition of Vantage Point Radio: Roadmap to Apartheid – Narrated by Alice Walker

By Vantage Point Radio, Video/Audio

RECORDED 2/04/19 On this WBAI Winter Fund Drive Edition of Vantage Point Radio, the Professor Dr. Ron Daniels talks about the film “Roadmap to Apartheid” (Narrated by Alice Walker) and the conflict between Israeli and the Palestinians. Roadmap to Apartheid A film narrated by Alice Walker about the roots of the conflict between Israeli and the Palestinians, and its parallels to the former Apartheid regime in South Africa. The producers…

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To Curb Ghost Workers and Coffee Corruption, Africa Turns to Blockchain

To Curb Ghost Workers and Coffee Corruption, Africa Turns to Blockchain

By Editors' Choice

From Ethiopia to Tanzania and South Africa to Ghana, African nations are embracing this ledger technology to weed out graft. By Kizito Makoye, OZY — On his first day in office as president of Tanzania in 2015, John Pombe Magufuli made a surprise visit to the Finance Ministry and berated officials who weren’t at work. It was the first in a series of steps Magufuli has taken that have won…

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When Mandela's Predecessor Toured the Us to Expose Segregation Back Home

When Mandela’s Predecessor Toured the Us to Expose Segregation Back Home

By Editors' Choice

Solomon Plaatje, an early ANC leader, came to America in 1921 to expose the growing number of race laws back home. By Matthew Blackman, OZY — A short, well-dressed 44-year-old man of the southern African Barolong tribe stood at the American border near Niagara Falls holding Canadian passport No. 79551. It stated the bearer was a British national and a resident of Toronto. In fact, he was Solomon Plaatje, the…

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Report by Transparency International sees South Africa top the list of countries where citizens believe the problem has got worse in the last year.

Securing Ramaphosa’s Presidency – At What Cost?

By Commentaries/Opinions

People cherished many expectations for Cyril Ramaphosa’s presidency. Many of these were not necessarily realistic and may have derived from a sense of relief in the departure of Jacob Zuma, rather than what may have been possible for Ramaphosa to do. By Raymond Suttner, Polity — In the early months Ramaphosa engendered considerable confidence as a result of his apparently methodical, systematic and measured way of handling his office. This…

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Incomplete and dilapidated housing near Umzimkhulu, South Africa. A whistle-blower who condemned corruption in the area is now in hiding.

Hit Men and Power: South Africa’s Leaders Are Killing One Another

By News & Current Affairs

By Norimitsu Onishi and Selam Gebrekidan, The New York Times — UMZIMKHULU, South Africa — Their fear faded as they raced back home, the bottle of Johnnie Walker getting lighter with each turn of the road. Soon, Sindiso Magaqa was clapping and bouncing behind the wheel of his beloved V8 Mercedes-Benz, pulling into familiar territory just before dark. Minutes later, men closed in with assault rifles. Mr. Magaqa reached for…

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The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela - Edited by Sahm Venter

A Hope Manifesto for Times of Resistance

By Editors' Choice

Mandela was not just “a brilliant political tactician and legal mind, but also an exquisite writer,” says reviewer Goff. These letters give us a man of high ideals whose “fight for survival” in prison adds Goff, “would have broken many of us.” By Keli Goff, Los Angeles Review of Books — IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE that Sahm Venter, the editor of The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela, did not have a crystal…

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South African military personnel bring in the coffin at Orlando Stadium in Soweto for the funeral ceremony of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Huge crowds turn out for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s funeral

By News & Current Affairs

Tens of thousands attend emotional service for veteran anti-apartheid activist. By Jason Burke — Tens of thousands of South Africans have filled a stadium in Soweto for the funeral service of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, a heroine of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa but also one of its most controversial figures. Shouts of “Long live Comrade Winnie”, “the struggle continues” and “power to the people” rang out around the stadium on Saturday throughout…

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