Nelson Mandela a few days after being released from jail in 1990 (TREVOR SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
As the world mourns for Nelson Mandela, tributes have poured in from the many people around the world who encountered South Africa’s beloved anti-apartheid hero. Here are some personal encounters and memories of South Africa’s first black president. Read more
The “exclusive” footage by SABC, South Africa’s state broadcaster, was rich in content as the country’s top leaders chuckled to the background of clicking and flashing cameras.
There was President Jacob Zuma, his shirt undone at the neck, looking relaxed and carefree. His deputy in the ruling African National Congress, Cyril Ramaphosa, appeared equally jovial and casual.
But there was one major problem – the centrepiece of the clip, Nelson Mandela, looked anything but happy. Rather, the revered former liberation leader and South Africa’s first black president stared vacantly into the distance, frail and apparently unaware of the commotion around him.
The result was the unseemly spectacle of a bunch of politicians parading themselves around an old man lauded as a national treasure, causing a storm of outrage to erupt on social media.
Richard Dowden explains why the next pope should be African. “The Catholic Church in Europe used to be… part of the warp and weft of society. And if it wanted to become so again, it should send for an African Pope.”
In Deputatskoye, residents are rooting around in the snow in the hope of digging up fragments of the meteor that exploded over the Siberian town to sell. The excitement over the value of pieces of meteors has even brought visitors to the town, “men who refused to answer questions but offered stacks of rubles worth hundreds, then thousands, of dollars for the fragments.”
Gideon became chief foreign affairs columnist for the Financial Times in July 2006. He joined the FT after a 15-year career at The Economist, which included spells as a foreign correspondent in Brussels, Washington and Bangkok. He also edited The Economist’s business and Asia sections.
His particular interests include American foreign policy, the European Union and globalisation.