March 19, 1997 |
The half-hour boat ride to Robben Island is much less ominous now to Eddie Daniels than it was when he first took the voyage 33 years ago. In 1964, Daniels traveled to the island shackled in the hold of a ferry whose portholes had been painted black, preventing him from seeing the slowly receding skyline of his hometown, Cape Town. He was condemned to the bleak prison to serve a 15-year sentence for sabotage. One day recently the same vessel that carried Daniels as a prisoner ferried him and about 140 other tourists to the island, where they were greeted at the dock by smiling tour guides dressed in bright African shirts rather than stern prison guards dressed in khaki.
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.
February 16, 1992 |
With the salty wind whipping her chalk-white hair and a periwinkle-blue cardigan flapping on her shoulders, Pat Jordan stared at the rocky coast of Robben Island - South Africa's Alcatraz - and saw an entirely different island blossoming in the sun. "There will be a yacht harbor and nature trails and a very nice Victorian village with tea shops and antique book stores," said Jordan, a member of the local tourism commission, part of an inspection team...
December 7, 2013
An irony of Nelson Mandela's life is that the African National Congress freedom fighter will forever be remembered as a man of peace. That could not have been envisioned in 1961, when Mandela helped persuade the ANC that violence was necessary to get whites to share power with South Africa's black majority. Since 1912, the ANC had peaceably sought equality, but to no avail. So its leaders listened to Mandela and other militants in the ANC Youth League, including Walter Sisulu and Oliver Tambo.
May 25, 2012 |
The Island , by Athol Fugard, in collaboration with actors John Kani and Winston Ntshona, is about a real island in South Africa, the site of a notorious prison. If you've been there, you know how stark and oppressive Robben Island is, despite its having now become - merely, happily - a tourist site. Nelson Mandela, among thousands of others, was imprisoned there under the grim laws of apartheid and participated in the events the play recounts. Fugard, long admired as the courageous theatrical spokesman for human rights in his native country, gives us just a glimpse of what it must have felt like to be trapped, physically and psychologically, in South Africa.
February 21, 1990 |
It was good that Nelson Mandela finally broke his silence the other day about conditions inside the worst of South Africa's prisons. Mandela is not the type to cop sympathy with tales of hard times. But it was important for people who are just beginning to learn about this remarkable man to know that he didn't spend much of his past 27 years, six months and 11 days in that comfortable bungalow at Victor Verster Prison Farm. The giant of the African National Congress wasn't moved to Verster until after he was hospitalized for tuberculosis in August 1988.
December 2, 1994 |
In 1964, Allister Sparks showed the acumen that would earn him distinction as South Africa's premier journalist when he wrote that the government would have future cause to celebrate its decision to spare the life of Nelson Mandela. But from Mandela's forthcoming autobiography we now learn that the apartheid state almost snuffed out its lone chance for redemption when it plotted to kill him in a staged escape attempt only five years later. At the conclusion of the celebrated "Rivonia Trial" of 1964, Mandela was found guilty under the catch-all Suppression of Communism Act and sentenced to life imprisonment on bleak Robben Island, along with African National Congress comrades Walter Sisulu and Ahmed Kathrada.
April 30, 1991 |
Two weeks ago, Peter-Paul Ngwenya was sitting in a cell on Robben Island, a third of the way through a 15-year term for planning to shoot down a South African jet fighter with a Soviet surface-to-air missile in the service of the African National Congress. The future didn't look so bright. Then, a guard summoned him over. "He looked at me, and he laughed," Ngwenya said. "He told me, 'You are going home.' I couldn't believe it. I wanted to go out and begin screaming with joy. " Ngwenya, 37, was released under the terms of an agreement called the "Pretoria Minute," signed Aug. 6 by the ANC and the white government of President F.W. de Klerk.
March 28, 1998 |
Seizing on his status as one of the world's most adored heroes, South African President Nelson Mandela publicly lectured President Clinton yesterday as no other head of state has, imploring him to deal directly with America's enemies. Mandela defended his friendships with dictators Fidel Castro of Cuba and Moammar Gadhafi of Libya - who provided money and military equipment in the battle against South Africa's forced racial separation - and used his experience as a political prisoner turned president to caution that peace can be achieved only by engaging one's foes.
December 23, 2002 |
ALL YOU "Friends"-aholics who've been gearing up to say goodbye this May have been given another reprieve. The Daily Variety Web site reported Saturday that NBC and Warner Bros., the show's producer, have agreed to a 10th season. NBC will pay about $10 million per episode, making "Friends" by far the most expensive prime-time half-hour in history. The surprising part of the story is that stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer agreed to the extra season without getting a raise.