October 26, 2014 |
A friend's young daughter, visiting from her home in South Africa, once told me, "It's not a matter of if something terrible will happen to you, but when, and how bad will it be?" Such is the legacy of apartheid explored in Pamela Gien's The Syringa Tree . In this Theatre Horizon production, terrible - often very, very terrible - things happen, but also beautiful things, made even more so by the challenges her characters face, both internal and external. Gien descends from British South Africans, a group who under apartheid occupied a place slightly to the left of Afrikaners (of mostly Dutch ancestry)
May 29, 2014 |
THE WAR against Israel has passed through three phases. The first was the attempt to annihilate Israel by conventional means. It began with Israel's birth in 1948, when Arab armies nearly captured Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and ended in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when Israeli forces came within artillery range of Cairo and Damascus. The next stage, starting in the early 1970s, sought to cripple Israel through terror. Suicide bombers nearly paralyzed the country, but by 2005 they too were defeated.
March 1, 2014 |
Created by the playwright/director/theorist Peter Brook, with his longtime collaborator Marie-Helene Estienne, The Suit is a touching musical play about life in South Africa under the tyranny of apartheid. Now at the Prince Music Theater, the show has been on tour, first in London, then New York, and is on its way to Washington. It stars the beautiful Nonhlanhla Kheswa as a young wife who longs for "more" in her life. Her husband (Ivanno Jeremiah) learns she has been cheating on him, and when he comes home unexpectedly one morning, he scares off her lover, who leaves behind his suit.
December 7, 2013 |
Political leaders across the Philadelphia region Thursday praised Nelson Mandela as an iconic figure whose struggle for justice inspired the world. "I had the honor of meeting President Mandela in Philadelphia in the 1990s, and he is one of the most remarkable and influential people I have ever met," Mayor Nutter said. "I traveled to South Africa in 2005 and visited Robben Island, where President Mandela was imprisoned. . . . I saw his cell. I watched his long walk to freedom on live television when he was released from prison by the apartheid regime.
December 4, 2012
Arthur Chaskalson, 81, a civil rights lawyer who once helped defend Nelson Mandela and later became South Africa's chief justice, has died. South Africa's presidency confirmed Mr. Chaskalson's death Saturday. The state-owned South African Broadcasting Corp. said he had been battling leukemia. Mr. Chaskalson was one of several lawyers on the defense team that challenged the apartheid government's prosecution of members of the African National Congress for sabotage in the 1960s case known as the Rivonia Trial.
December 12, 2011
I'M AWAY FOR two weeks and come back to an array of other-worldly developments: Donovan McNabb may come back (!?), Arlene Ackerman will get a fat unemployment check, some Philly fourth-graders are charged with sexual assault, Occupy Philly got evicted (but first started a valuable conversation) and Hip-Hop was fired by the Sixers and will be replaced (maybe) by a . . . moose? You know, Philadelphia's unofficial symbol - the freaking moose? Just another instance of mindless change for the sake of change.
November 15, 2011
Authorized By Allister Sparks and Mpho Tutu HarperOne. 368 pp. $29.99 Reviewed by Scott Kraft The history of the long fight to end apartheid in South Africa had many heroes but none quite like a 5-foot-4 Anglican archbishop with an impish sense of humor who became a giant irritant to the white authorities. Desmond Tutu's gift for the art of protest politics was on sweet display one pivotal weekend in 1989, when Frederick W. de Klerk was about to be installed as president and the nation pulsed with clashes between protesters and police.
August 25, 2011 |
We sure have come a long way since Out of Africa and The Flame Trees of Thika . In the second decade of the 21st century, some of the most compelling contemporary crime-fiction novels are either set in or coming from Africa. Much as Scandinavia became associated with the genre a few years back - thanks in large part to Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy - Africa may become a new capital of literary crime. At the forefront is Roger Smith, a director and screenwriter who lives in Cape Town, South Africa, and writes with the brutal beauty of an Elmore Leonard in a very bad mood.
July 20, 2011
Magnus Malan, 81, a South African general and defense minister who in the 1980s helped devise and carry out his nation's strategy to preserve its system of racial segregation, died Monday of heart failure in Cape Town. Gen. Malan used the phrase total onslaught to describe threats to apartheid, as the country's racial laws were known. He saw threats from Communists, African countries, and American liberals. His answer was "a total strategy," combining the political, economic, and psychological spheres as well as the military.
June 23, 2011
Kader Asmal, 76, a prominent member of South Africa's governing African National Congress who pressed his party to keep its democratic promises, died Wednesday in a Cape Town hospital, the ANC said. No cause of death was given. Mr. Asmal led antiapartheid protests as a high school student in rural eastern South Africa. He later left for Britain and Ireland, where he continued antiapartheid activism and studied and taught law. He returned to South Africa in 1990 and participated in negotiations that ended apartheid.