Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Inside South Africa Politics

One of the truly great stories during my years in journalism was the transition from oppression to democracy in South Africa.

I had something of ringside seat as the editor responsible for South Africa coverage for a newspaper that aggressively chronicled the (relatively bloodless) revolution that followed Nelson Mandela's release from prison in 1990. Few U.S. newspapers paid the story the attention it deserved, let alone assigned its own people to cover it.

As good as our print coverage was, our photographs were superb. This was because of Susan Winters, a fearless photographer and friend who during her six trips to South Africa chronicled the transition from back streets and villages, not parliament and city centers. I felt like a proud papa when Susan was awarded the 1994 Robert F. Kennedy Award, the most prestigious given to photojournalists, for her work in the Western Cape region of South Africa.

Susan eventually moved to the Western Cape and I left the daily grind for calmer climes, but I’ve always kept one eye on South Africa politics and have been curious to see how they would evolve in the years after Mandela and his African National Congress assumed power.

It’s a bit inside baseball, but Derek Catsam, who blogs under the name “dcat,” goes a long way toward sating my curiousity in this post from the Western Cape. Best of all, he promises future updates.

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