July 4, 1993 |
Despite objections from some African American elected officials and activists, Nelson Mandela, president of the African National Congress, said yesterday that he didn't mind sharing the Liberty Medal with South African President F.W. de Klerk. "The offer has been made by the people of Philadelphia, and I am happy to accept the award no matter who else is being honored," Mandela said during a news conference inside Independence Hall. "I accept it as a great honor and acknowledgment that we are on the correct path in order to solve the problems of our country.
July 3, 1993 |
Mayor Rendell, weary and wary of controversy surrounding the Philadelphia Liberty Medal, got it in writing from the African National Congress and in person from City Council President John F. Street yesterday: Awarding the medal jointly to Nelson Mandela and South African President F. W. de Klerk tomorrow is a good idea. Street, standing beside Rendell at a hastily called news conference, said he disagreed with a group of black clergy and elected officials who believe de Klerk, as a longtime agent of apartheid, does not deserve the medal.
June 24, 1993 |
Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk will receive the Liberty Medal from President Clinton at Independence Hall on the afternoon of July 4, but freedom won't stop ringing then, even for the day. Mandela has a second event for the 4th - a rally and fund-raiser for his African National Congress at the Civic Center that night. "We wanted to give everyday working people, who will not be able to interact with him at the earlier event, a chance to hear him speak," said Lana Felton-Ghee, of the Philadelphia Welcome Mandela Committee, which is organizing the event.
June 9, 1993 |
Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, has made a big mistake in its attempt to make a historic gesture by awarding Nelson Mandela, and South African president F.W. de Klerk the Liberty Medal in a joint ceremony on July 4. The attempt to equate the two men - Mandela, the leader of the African National Congress and a lifelong fighter for liberty admired the world around, and de Klerk, who until very recently upheld his nation's oppressive apartheid...
May 17, 1993 |
Oliver Tambo and Chris Hani, each in his own way, spent their lives fighting South Africa's policy of apartheid. Cesar Chavez founded America's United Farm Workers Union. Despite differences in methods and causes, all three men fought for the powerless and downtrodden and yesterday, they were honored in a memorial service at North Philadelphia's Church of the Advocate. Members of the clergy, union leaders, academics and more than 100 others joined in remembering the two freedom fighters and the union leader, who all died last month.
May 16, 1993 |
The thin man with a thatch of straw-colored hair approached the microphone with deliberation, his long, delicate fingers extended toward the podium. "What has happened in this country with apartheid is not, as some would have you believe, just a policy experiment that failed," the young man said. "It was a moral failure, an injustice. " The audience of blacks and whites shot to its feet, cheering. A white man in the third row shook with sobs. "Viva, Comrade Verwoerd!" shouted a black man, frantically waving the green-black-and-gold flag of the African National Congress.
May 14, 1993 |
An alert reader has chided me for referring to the murder of African National Congress official Chris Hani as "the first major political assassination" in South Africa's history. "Have you forgotten what happened to Hendrik Verwoerd in the late 1960s?" asks Dr. Alma Sperling. "Verwoerd was Prime Minister and he was about to open a session of Parliament in Cape Town when he was murdered. How could you not count that as South Africa's first political assassination?" It's a matter of literal definition.
May 7, 1993 |
On the door of my office is a fading group photo I have long referred to as the Class of 1956. At the time it was taken, the South African police must have seen it as the ultimate mug shot. Posed on a wooden scaffolding some 15 rows high, it shows 156 defendants who were prosecuted for treason 37 years ago in the largest such trial in South Africa's history. Standing almost in the center of the third row, towering majestically over the rest, is the giant figure of former heavyweight boxer-turned- activist Nelson Mandela.
March 25, 1993 |
In 1985, at a shopping mall near Durban in South Africa, the son of a black minister planted a bomb during the Christmas season. When the bomb went off, five people were killed and more than 50 were injured. The young man, whose name was Andrew Zondo, was caught, tried and hanged. From this actual incident, Boston playwright Tug Yourgrau has fashioned The Song of Jacob Zulu, which opened last night at the Plymouth in a production by the Steppenwolf Theatre Company of Chicago. Yourgrau, who was born in South Africa, begins with the arrest of the young man - he calls him Jacob Zulu - and proceeds to flip back and forth between the trial and various events in Jacob's brief life.
March 7, 1993 |
Clement Keto's life is a tale of the struggle of black citizens in two countries. The nationally recognized scholar and historian of African American culture - just selected for Who's Who in the World - sees contrasts between the struggles of blacks for equality in the United States and in South Africa, his native land. Apartheid's hold on black South Africans is different from the forms of injustice that black Americans faced when they waged their battle for civil rights in the 1950s and 1960s, said Keto, a professor of African American history at Temple University, in a recent interview at his Sicklerville home.