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57 Segments




Nadine Gordimer's Returns with a New Novel

The white South African writer's latest book is called My Son's Story, about a mixed-race family. She joins Fresh Air to talk about why she stays in in her home country, despite political unrest. A long-time anti-apartheid activist, she's recently become a member of the African National Congress.


Albie Sachs Survives His Assassination Attempt

The white anti-apartheid activist and African National Congress member survived a car bomb explosion, though the blast left him severely injured. Sachs later left South Africa for Mozambique, then England. His new memoir about the experience is called Running to Maputo.


Rian Malan Discusses his "Traitor's Heart."

White South African writer Rian (rhymes with "neon") Malan. Malan is an Afrikaner, descendent of a family that settled in South Africa over three hundred years ago, and Malan's great-uncle was the chief architect of the Apartheid system. Malan only realized the horror of Apartheid after he became a crime reporter for a Johannesburg paper. What he learned led him to leave South Africa, and spend the next eight years in exile.


Abdullah Ibrahim Discusses Jazz and Apartheid.

South African pianist/composer Abdullah Ibrahim (E-bra-HEEM). His music is influenced by South African vocal and popular music, early American Jazz, church music, and American Jazz of the 1960's and 1970's which was influenced by African music. One of his songs, "Mannenberg is Where It's Happening (Capetown Fringe)," a vocal, was a hit in South Africa and became the anthem for the Soweto uprisings of 1976. Ibrahim formerly went by the name Dollar Brand, and has several albums under that name. Ibrahim lives in New York in self-imposed exile from South Africa.


A White South African's Fight Against Apartheid

Janet Levine is a white, liberal South African woman and anti-apartheid activist. She later resigned from public office and exiled herself in the United States; she believed that whites' unavoidable complicity with racist policies undermined the efforts of black activists. Her memoir new memoir is called Inside Apartheid.


Black Reporters in South Africa's White Press

New Yorker writer William Finnegan followed back journalists in South Africa who worked for a liberal, opposition newspapers. Finnegan is white, and his presence often put the people he traveled with in danger. His book about the reporters is called Dateline Soweto.


White South Africans Who Fought Apartheid.

Screenwriter Shawn Slovo. Her first film, "A World Apart," is the autobiographical story of the relationship between a white woman, committed to fighting apartheid, and her 13-year-old daughter, who is struggling to cope with the political choices her mother has made. Slovo's parents were early members of the outlawed African National Congress; Her mother reported on the injustices of apartheid for alternative newspapers, while her father defended blacks in the court system. Slovo's mother was murdered in exile by a parcel bomb.


Cinematographer Chris Menges Makes His Directorial Debut.

Cinematographer and director Chris Menges. His new film, "A World Apart," opens soon. The film deals with the relationship between a white woman, politically committed to the fight against apartheid in South Africa, and her 13-year-old daughter's attempts to understand the political choices her mother has made. Menges is Britain's foremost cinematographer and the winner of two Oscars for his camera work on "The Killing Fields" and "The Mission." "A World Apart" is his first feature film as a director.


Helen Suzman Shares Her Thoughts on Apartheid and South Africa Today.

Helen Suzman served as an Opposition Member of the South African Parliament from 1953 until 1989 . Suzman was a pioneering political leader in the fight against apartheid and anti-semitism. For thirteen years she was the sole representative in the Parliament to reject race discrimination. She's been twice nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. She'll discuss post-apartheid South Africa. (Interview by Marty Moss-Coane).


South African Actor Zakes Mokae Plays a "Heavy."

Actor Zakes Mokae. He now appears in the film "The Serpent and the Rainbow." He began his acting career in his native South Africa where he and playwright Athol Fugard founded the Serpent Theater. They shocked audiences by becoming the first black and white actors to appear on stage together. Mokae continues to appear in Fugard's plays, in addition to his film career.


Miriam Makeba's Life and Career.

Exiled South African singer Miriam Makeba. At 20, she became the lead vocalist for a top South African band. And when her performances brought her international acclaim, she used her forum to speak out against Apartheid. She was subsequently banned from her native country, and then later from America for her marriage to the radical Stokely Carmichael. For the past 20 years, she's toured with her mentor, singer Harry Belafonte, and last year she toured with Paul Simon's Graceland Tour.


"Cry Freedom" is Too Afraid to Be the Movie It Could Be.

Film Critic Stephen Schiff reviews "Cry Freedom," starring Kevin Kline as South African journalist Donald Woods, and Denzel Washington as anti-apartheid activist Stephen Biko. The movie portrays the friendship that developed between Woods, a white reporter, and Biko, one of the leading foes of apartheid. "Cry Freedom" is directed by Richard Attenborough.

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