Category: International Written by Associated Press
BLADE RUNNER--Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp are seen at an awards ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2012. (AP Photo/City Press, Lucky Nxumalo)
(GIN) – With all eyes on the tragedy of a woman’s life lost and an Olympic hero hauled into court on murder one, a poignant fact remains hidden in the drama: South Africa put strict gun control laws on the books in 2004 and cut gun crime by more than 20 percent.
Unlike in the U.S., owning a gun is conditional on a competency test and several other factors, including background checking of the applicant, inspection of an owner's premises, and licensing of the weapon by the police. Minimum waiting period frequently exceeds 2 years from date of application.
Approximately 6 million civilians own guns in South Africa – about 12% of the population - but estimates of sales on the black market could make the real number twice that.
The strict laws were unable, however, to prevent Oscar Pistorius, Olympic and Paralympic sprinter and double amputee, from amassing a deadly collection of guns and for allegedly murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, as she hid in the bathroom.
Pistorius was a known gun enthusiast. In January, he applied for six separate firearm licenses, according to the online paper IOL, namely a Maverick shotgun, a Winchester shotgun, a Mossberg Shotgun, a Smith & Wesson Model 500 revolver, a .38 Special revolver and a Vector .223 rifle.
The range of weaponry shocked defense analyst Helmoed Heitman. He said he could not understand what the need for these firearms would be. A Vector .223 rifle, for example, is so powerful that its bullet carries on for a thousand metres, he said, adding, “If you shoot a burglar and you miss, you can hit somebody else 300 meters away.”
South African gun lobbies, with such unlikely names as The Justice Alliance of South Africa, have been seeking to weaken the gun law. "The only effective way to protect yourself against intruders is by using a gun. Either directly, or indirectly by summoning armed response or the police," said Wouter de Waal of Gun Owners of South Africa.
Meanwhile, Pistorius has been charged with premeditated murder and released on bail raising concerns that the White and wealthy Blade Runner is being treated more favorably than the 160,000 inmates incarcerated in Africa's most overcrowded prison system.
Far from the courtroom drama that has gripped South Africa, the family of Pistorius' slain girlfriend, Steenkamp, has struggled with its own private deluge of grief, frustration and bewilderment. The victim's relatives also harbor misgivings about efforts by the Olympian's family to reach out to them with condolences. Pistorius, meanwhile, spent Feb. 23, at his uncle's home in an affluent suburb of Pretoria.
Last Updated on Sunday, 24 February 2013 17:28
Category: International Written by Courier Newsroom
‘HUMAN PROP’--A picture of a Namibian San man, which was photographed in the Namib Desert with international model, Emily DiDonata during Sports Illustrated swimsuit 2013 photo shoot in Namibia.
(GIN) – The much-awaited swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated magazine has waded into a public relations nightmare with its display of bikini-clad White models prancing alongside Africans carrying spears or Chinese paddling rafts in cone shaped hats.
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 February 2013 07:21
Category: International Written by Associated Press
NEW REALITY SHOW--In this Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 photo, Swati Dlamini, left, and Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway, granddaughters of Nelson and Winnie Mandela, pose during an interview in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
by Alexandra Olson
Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — The newest reality television show is in some ways like any other: mother and daughters, sibling rivalry, family gossip and talk of Big Grandpa, who is very strict but loves it when his great-grandchildren are around making a racket. But that's where the twist comes in: Big Grandpa is Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid legend.
"Being Mandela," a new series premiering Sunday on COZI TV, invites U.S. audiences into the lives of Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway and Swati Dlamini, the fashionable, 30-something granddaughters of Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. The 94-year-old former South African president, who recently was treated for a lung infection and had surgery to remove gallstones, does not appear in the series but his controversial ex-wife — "Big Mommy" to her grandchildren — does and seems to relish it.
If the Mandela clan seems like an odd subject for a reality show, the granddaughters make no apologies.
"We get asked this question a lot. Is this not going to tarnish the name and is this not going to be bad for the name?" Swati Dlamini said in an interview with The Associated Press in New York, where she and her sister were promoting the show. "But our grandparents have always said to us, this is our name too, and we can do what we think is best fitting with the name, as long as we treat it with respect and integrity."
The 13-episode first season follows the two women as they try to carry on the family legacy while juggling motherhood in Johannesburg.
The sisters, who spent most of their childhood in exile in the United States, make an emotional visit to the prison on Robben Island where their grandfather spent 18 of the 27 years he was imprisoned by South Africa's white-ruled government. Zaziwe meets the guard who she says smuggled her into prison as a baby so Mandela could meet her.
Let in on the secret, prison guard Christo Brand recalls initially refusing to allow Mandela to see his grandchild, according to his memoir at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory.
Then, Brand says, he gave in, though he feared he might lose his job. "I gave him the baby, he had tears in his eyes while he held her ..." he says. "Mandela never told anyone about this. When we walked back to the prison section, he told me how important the moment was, to touch something small."
The sisters, along with two brothers, also become the latest famous names to launch a fashion line, called "Long Walk to Freedom" in honor of their grandfather's autobiography. Their lives are special and glamorous and they know it. They hope that U.S. audiences — COZI TV is a new network launched by NBC Owned Television Stations — will see a vibrant and modern side of South Africa through their eyes.
They also bicker. The family, especially Madikizela-Mandela, loves to gossip about when Swati, the single mother of a 4-year-old daughter, is going to get married. Swati is furious when Zaziwe, despite being sworn to secrecy, blurts to their grandmother that her sister is dating someone. Zaziwe, 35, is married to an American businessman and has three children.
The sisters are the daughters of Zenani Mandela and Prince Thumbumuzi Dlamini of Swaziland. But parents everywhere will delight in seeing that being royal doesn't help them face toddler tantrums or get older children out of bed and into school uniforms.
Big Grandpa and Big Mommy are into the show, the sisters insisted.
Mandela will definitely watch it, they said. The Nobel Peace Prize winner apparently sort of likes reality TV.
"You'll be interested to know that he loves 'Toddlers and Tiaras,'" said Swati, laughing in reference to the TLC series about child beauty pageants.
"Because of the kids! He just loves children," Zaziwe added quickly.
The sisters said their grandfather is "happy and healthy."
Zaziwe showed a Feb. 2 photograph of Mandela at home, flashing his familiar smile, with his youngest great-grandchild on his lap — Zaziwe's one-year-old son. The picture is a rare public image of Mandela, whose last appearance on a major stage was during the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament in South Africa.
Mandela, who always lamented his long separation from his family during his imprisonment, is happiest these days when his offspring are running around being loud, his granddaughters said.
"We're in and out of the house. We're loud and he loves the noise," Zaziwe said.
The granddaughters say their grandfather — to the world, a symbol of integrity and magnanimity — holds the family to high standards and sets rules for when the children should be home and when dinner should start.
"He's a very strict person. Most people wouldn't think that but he really, really is," Zaziwe said.
The sisters are closer to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who divorced Mandela in 1996. Their adoring description of their grandmother as the doting matriarch stands in contrast with her checkered public image. Beloved by many poor urban blacks, Madikizela-Mandela also faces accusations that she and her bodyguard unit committed 18 killings in the 1980s. She denies it.
"She's fun. She never says no to us. I don't think I've ever heard my grandmother say no to us," Zaziwe said.
Still, the series shows Big Mommy clearly taking charge of the family. She marches into the hospital room where Zaziwe gave birth to Zen with a list of possible names for the baby boy.
The sisters say it was only after Mandela retired from public life that they started to get to know their grandfather.
"Our grandfather always told us that he belongs to the country and he's of service to the country and he doesn't belong to us as a family. And that's the sacrifice he's made for the country and that what he's told us as far as I can remember," Swati said.
AP Entertainment Writer Lauri Neff contributed to this story.
On the Internet:
Last Updated on Friday, 08 February 2013 16:48
Category: International Written by Associated Press
ONE BILLION STRONG--Actress Thandie Newton, right, reacts with playwright and charity founder, Eve Ensler, during a photocall for One Billion Rising, the charity which aims to tackle violence against women, at the Institute of Arts in central London, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)
AP Entertainment Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Thousands danced in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Hundreds chanted in South Africa, carrying signs and candles. The Philippines held a 24-hour dance party. Scores of students in India gathered for a candlelight vigil.
Last Updated on Friday, 15 February 2013 09:29
Category: International Written by Roz Edward, National Content Director
HANGING IN THERE---- In this Jan. 2 photo, former boxing legend Muhammad Ali arrives at the Sugar Bowl football game in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
By Tim Dahlberg
AP Boxing Writer
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Muhammad Ali's daughter knocked down rumors of her father being near death Sunday, saying he was at home watching the Super Bowl.
May May Ali said she talked to her father Sunday morning on the phone and he was fine. She said he was watching the Super Bowl at home in Arizona, wearing a Baltimore Ravens jersey.
"He's fine, in fact he was talking well this morning," she said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "These rumors pop up every once in a while but there's nothing to them."
The family later posted a photo on Twitter of Ali sitting in a chair wearing a Ray Lewis T-shirt.
The rumors were started by a report in a British tabloid quoting Ali's brother, Rahman, as saying the former heavyweight champion was near death. Rahman, though, said he hadn't seen his brother since last summer and had no contact with the family.
The report was widely repeated on the Internet, drawing expressions of condolences on Twitter and Facebook.
Ali suffers from Parkinson's disease. He celebrated his 71st birthday last month.
Last Updated on Monday, 04 February 2013 22:09
Digital Daily Signup
Sign up now for the New Pittsburgh Courier Digital Daily newsletter!
- 'Africa Day': In Ethiopia, African Union celebrates 50 years (1)
- Robert L. Johnson receives highest award recognition From Black Enterprise magazine (1)
- Is Scandal’s Olivia Pope just like the reality show chicks? (4)
- Time to share the ‘truth’ about ‘timeshares’ (5)
- Community outraged over toddler’s shooting death, Rayco declares 'War' (1)