May 22nd, 2012
04:02 PM ET

Controversial Zuma painting defaced on-camera

The African National Congress wanted to go to court to force a South African gallery to remove a painting depicting President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed.

The ANC got its wish, but it was two vandals, not a judge, who granted it.

Local station eNews Channel was at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg with cameras rolling when one man calmly approached the portrait, called "The Spear," and painted red crosses over the face and genitals.

Next came another man who smeared black paint over most of the image.

Watch the video above to see the vandals attack, see the violent arrest and hear the stunned reaction of the reporter as it all unfolds.

Opinions on "The Spear" are divided. CNN's "Open Mic" gave some South Africans a chance to vent. Watch below to hear what they're saying. Which side do you support?

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Filed under: Africa • Art • South Africa • Uncategorized • World
May 3rd, 2012
09:24 AM ET

4 minors accused in gang rape freed on bail

Four minors accused in a videotaped gang rape of a mentally disabled teenager in South Africa were released Thursday on $67 bail, their lawyer told CNN.

Four adults are also suspects in the case. Their bail hearing will be June 20, a court spokesman said last week.

The images of the assault of the 17-year-old girl, believed to be mentally ill, swept across the Internet and touched a nerve in South Africa.

The shocking footage shows the girl pleading for her attackers to stop, and it has some activists saying it is an example of the country's problem with rape.

The girl went missing on March 21. Police suspect she was kidnapped and turned into a sex slave.

The cell phone video of her gang rape surfaced and went viral among schoolchildren in Soweto, a vast township near Johannesburg.

The Daily Sun, a local tabloid, alerted police about the attack after a concerned mother whose daughter was watching the video handed it over to the newspaper.

Police embarked on a search for the girl and the people in the video.

Eight suspects have been arrested and charged with kidnapping and raping the teen. Seven of them were seen on the video; the other was a 37-year-old man found with the girl.

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Filed under: Crime • South Africa
February 25th, 2012
04:41 AM ET

Nelson Mandela admitted to hospital in South Africa

South African anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela was admitted to hospital Saturday following an abdominal complaint, the government said.

"Madiba has had a longstanding abdominal complaint and doctors feel it needs proper specialist medical attention," President Jacob Zuma said in a statement.

The former president - affectionately known by his clan name Madiba - last appeared in public in the closing ceremonies of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Despite his rare appearances, Mandela, 93, retains his popularity and is considered the founding father and hero of South Africa's democracy.

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Filed under: South Africa • World
January 10th, 2012
10:07 AM ET

South Africa: One dead in stampede for university places

A stampede on a university campus in Johannesburg Tuesday left one woman dead and several people injured, according to eyewitness reports.

The victim was the mother of one of many prospective students who had gathered in the early hours to enroll in the University of Johannesburg, according to the African National Congress Youth League, the youth wing of the governing ANC party.

Local media reported that 17 people were also injured.

Thousands of young people and their relatives had gathered outside the campus gates hoping to secure some of the last remaining university places or admission slots for students. Some chose to sleep outside overnight, desperate to sign up.

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Filed under: Africa • South Africa • World
October 7th, 2011
07:36 AM ET

Desmond Tutu celebrates 80th birthday

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu turned 80 on Friday, days after a spat with the government over a visa delay that prompted the Dalai Lama to cancel a trip to the nation.

A day before his birthday, Tutu danced with the Soweto Gospel Choir during a church celebration to mark his birthday.

Music and laughter rang out in the cathedral during the event attended by Irish rocker Bono of U2.

Celebration events come the same week the Dalai Lama scrapped his planned visit after the nation failed to issue him a visa in time.

Tutu lashed out at the government Tuesday, saying it had forgotten what the nation stood for.

"When we used to apply for passports under the apartheid government, we never knew until the last moment what their decision was," Tutu said at a news conference. "Our government is worse than the apartheid government because at least you were expecting it from the apartheid government.

The Dalai Lama had been invited to the country to receive a peace award and speak at various events, including a lecture in honor of Tutu's birthday. Tutu and the Dalai Lama are recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Despite the setback, tributes came in early Friday for the man known fondly as "the people's priest" and hailed for his fight for human rights.

In a birthday message, the U.S. Embassy in South Africa said he "continues to provide a moral voice for the voiceless."

"We congratulate Archbishop Desmond Tutu ... and join South Africa and the global community in honoring a man who is recognized for his fearlessness in speaking truth to power," the embassy in Pretoria said in a statement.

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Filed under: South Africa • World
October 4th, 2011
05:13 AM ET

Dalai Lama can't get South Africa visa

The Dalai Lama canceled his planned trip to South Africa Tuesday after the nation failed to issue him a visa, his spokesman said. He was scheduled to depart for South Africa Thursday.

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Filed under: South Africa
September 29th, 2011
08:35 PM ET

Shark severely injures man near Cape Town

A British man was severely injured in an attack by a great white shark while swimming this week near Cape Town, South Africa.

Michael Cohen, 43, lost his right leg and suffered injuries to his left foot in Wednesday's incident near Fish Hoek Beach. He was in critical condition and under heavy sedation in an intensive care unit on Thursday.

According to city officials, the beach was closed when Cohen decided to go for a swim. Warning flags had been raised to alert beach goers that it was not safe to enter the water due to shark sightings.  Officials said it was not clear why Cohen ignored the warnings.


287 rhinos killed by poachers in South Africa this year, World Wildlife Fund says
A veterinarian tends to a rhino left badly wounded by poachers last month on a reserve north of Cape Town, South Africa.
September 21st, 2011
12:39 PM ET

287 rhinos killed by poachers in South Africa this year, World Wildlife Fund says

Poachers have killed 287 rhinos in South Africa this year, including 16 critically endangered black rhinos, the World Wildlife Fund reported Wednesday.

South Africa is home to the majority of the world's rhinos, and the 271 African white rhinos killed there this year represent 1.3% of the entire population of the animals, the conservation group said.

The rhinos are killed for their horns, which are used in traditional medicine in Asia, including a misplaced belief they can cure cancer, according to the group.


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Filed under: Animals • Crime • Rhinos • South Africa
Great white jumps on to research boat
The 1,100-pound great white shark sits in the stern of a South African research boat.
July 20th, 2011
01:15 PM ET

Great white jumps on to research boat

Shark researchers in South Africa didn't have to go far Tuesday to find a specimen - a 10-foot great white shark leaped into the back of their boat. And rather than a story of the big one that got away, this is a story of a big one they couldn't get rid of.

The boat, from Ocean's Research in Mossel Bay on South Africa's southern coast between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, was chumming in the waters around Seal Island and monitoring the activity of four sharks as part of an ongoing study, researchers reported on their blog.

“Next thing I know I hear a splash, and see a white shark breach out of the water from the side of the boat hovering, literally, over the crewmember who was chumming on the boat's port side,” field specialist Dorien Schroder wrote on the blog. He pulled the crewmember to safety while others jumped out of the way of the 1,100-pound shark.


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Filed under: Animals • Sharks • South Africa
Michelle Obama talks Mandela, husband's campaign, daughters' privacy
First lady Michelle Obama paints a mural with teens at an HIV support center in Gaborone, Botswana, on Friday.
June 24th, 2011
04:05 PM ET

Michelle Obama talks Mandela, husband's campaign, daughters' privacy

First lady Michelle Obama has visited with dignitaries, schoolkids and women as part of her weeklong visit to Africa to promote youth leadership and education.

She and daughters, Sasha and Malia, arrived Monday.

She has even more events lined up this weekend, including a safari before she heads home from Botswana, but she has already sat down with South African ex-President Nelson Mandela and done pushups with Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu. She also went to a Cape Town, South Africa, museum after her planned trip to the notorious Robben Island prison, where Mandela spent 18 years, was canceled because of weather.

CNN caught up with Obama for an interview during which she discussed some of the high points of her trip:

On Mandela: "The one thing I told him, I wanted to make sure he understood how important his leadership and sacrifice has been to who I've become, to who my husband has become and, in short, I just said, 'Thank you.' It's really hard to know what to say to such an icon."

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Filed under: Africa • Barack Obama • Botswana • Education • Health • Michelle Obama • Politics • South Africa • World
On the Radar: Wimbledon served up, Libya funds threatened, al-Assad blames gangs
Serena Williams, left, has won Wimbledon four times. Her sister, Venus, has won the tournament five times.
June 20th, 2011
08:53 AM ET

On the Radar: Wimbledon served up, Libya funds threatened, al-Assad blames gangs

First day of Wimbledon - There's no shortage of storylines this year at Wimbledon. High on that list, as usual, are the sisters Williams. Venus and Serena hold nine Wimbledon titles between the two of them, but observers are still trying to determine if Serena is rusty or if the Williams sisters are "the ones to beat" at the grass-court tournament. Never mind that Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki is the top seed.

There's also the continuing saga of Serbia's Novak Djokovic and Switzerland's Roger Federer. The No. 3-seeded Federer snapped a historic winning streak by the No. 2-seeded Djokovic at the French Open two weeks ago. Now Federer is importing a little smack talk into the mix, saying, "I know I can beat Novak on any surface. ... I've done that in the past. Just because he's on a great winning streak doesn't mean he's unbeatable."

As for the No. 1 seed, Spain's Rafa Nadal is taking a different tack from Federer and playing down the chances of snaring his 11th Grand Slam title.


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Filed under: John Boehner • Libya • Michelle Obama • On the Radar • South Africa • Sports • Syria • Tennis
Monday's intriguing people
Albertina Sisulu and husband, Walter Sisulu, smile for the camera after Walter's 1989 release from prison.
June 6th, 2011
11:11 AM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Albertina Sisulu

The mother of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement has died. “Ma Sisulu,” as she was known throughout the movement, was 92 years old. As the wife of Walter Sisulu, an anti-apartheid activist and mentor to Nelson Mandela, she supported him during 26 years of imprisonment on Robben Island, often being imprisoned and harassed herself, The New York Times reported. In 1956, she organized the historic protest by 20,000 women that is now marked each August 9 as a national holiday called Women’s Day, The Times said. In 1994, she was elected to South Africa’s parliament, where her son, Max, is now speaker of the National Assembly. Daughter Lindiwe Sisulu serves as the nation’s defense minister, and another daughter, Beryl, is the country’s ambassador to Norway. Walter Sisulu died in 2003.


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Filed under: Civil Rights • Human rights • Protest • Race • South Africa • World
South African leader to visit Gadhafi, push for cease-fire and talks
Anti-Gadhafi rebels have taken control of several Libyan cities, including Misrata, Benghazi and Ajdabiya.
May 29th, 2011
07:25 PM ET

South African leader to visit Gadhafi, push for cease-fire and talks

South African President Jacob Zuma is set to meet embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on Monday, his second visit to Tripoli since unrest started roiling the North African country.

Unlike many other world leaders and alliances, Zuma, his African National Congress party and the African Union - which he will represent on his trip, and which Gadhafi himself once led - have not called for the longtime Libyan leader to step down. In fact, it has criticized the NATO airstrikes targeting government forces.

Noureddine Mezni, an African Union spokesman, said the mission is to call for the cessation of all hostilities, followed by peace talks between the warring parties. The continental organization has helped mediate such talks before, including ones in Kenya and Zimbabwe that left the ruling powers still in control.

Zuma's first visit to Tripoli in April was launched with similar intentions, but did not achieve its desired results. On Saturday, rebel leaders marked the 100th day of an uprising they say was launched over concerns about lack of freedom, democracy and other concerns related to Gadhafi's 42-year rule.

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Filed under: Libya • South Africa
Oprah Winfrey academy student questioned in infant's death
Oprah Winfrey and students inaugurate her South African academy in 2007.
February 19th, 2011
11:02 AM ET

Oprah Winfrey academy student questioned in infant's death

A student of Oprah Winfrey's Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa is being questioned in the death of an infant, authorities said.

The body of the newborn boy was found in the 17-year-old girl's bag as she was being treated in a hospital for excessive bleeding.

Police suspect she gave birth at the school, but say it is unclear if the child died naturally or was killed at birth. An autopsy was under way.

American talk-show host Oprah Winfrey opened the school in January 2007 to provide educational opportunities for impoverished girls in South Africa.

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Filed under: Crime • Education • Oprah Winfrey • South Africa
Baboons sniff out a better orange
A baboon is seen near a road outside Cape Town, South Africa, last year.
January 13th, 2011
01:51 PM ET

Baboons sniff out a better orange

Want to find the sweetest citrus in the orchard? Ask a baboon.

A group of baboons in South Africa is being credited with sniffing out a new, sweeter variety of orange.

Alwyn van der Merwe, production director of ALG Estates near Citrusdal, South Africa, said the farm noticed that baboons that come down to the farm from nearby mountains each year always went to feed from a particular tree among the thousands in the orchards. The animals stripped the tree clean of fruit well before others in the orchard were in season, he said.

"At closer inspection we discovered that the brix [sweetness grade] of this particular minneola, a soft citrus variety, was much higher than the rest of the orchard and that it started bearing fruit at least three weeks earlier than expected," van der Merwe said, according to a report in the Mail & Guardian newspaper.


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Filed under: Animals • South Africa
November 27th, 2010
10:31 AM ET

Lightning strike kills 7 at nursery school party in South Africa

A lightning strike killed seven people - including a 4-year-old child - at a nursery school Christmas party in South Africa, a government spokeswoman said Saturday.

Forty others were injured when the lightning struck in KwaZulu-Natal Friday afternoon, said Mashu Cele, a spokeswoman for the province's social development department.


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Filed under: Nature • South Africa
November 26th, 2010
10:58 AM ET

South Africa plans to use drones to stop poachers

In South Africa, poachers are meeting the tip of technology’s spear as the government heightens efforts to curb the killing of rhinos for their horns.

The past several months, South Africa has employed rhino GPS, police stings and more to stop rhino killings in South Africa's national parks and game preserves.

Now, the government may put unmanned drones in the sky to help hunt the poachers.

South African Defense Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said Thursday that the state hopes to deploy unmanned drone helicopters developed by national defense firm Denel in the fight against poachers, according to media reports.

“The issue of rhinos is one we recognize as particularly brutal, and we have committed ourselves to SANParks [South Africa National Parks] in dealing with this matter," Sisulu said, according to the South Africa Times Live.

“We also want to take advantage of the fact Denel has a particular UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] that is able to assist us,” she said, according to the South Africa Times Live.

The issue has sprouted grassroots efforts to thwart poachers. On Facebook, the group Pilots to Help With Anti-rhino Poaching is enlisting volunteer pilots to serve as eyes and ears above the ground in affected areas. The group had 420 “likes” as of Friday morning.


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Filed under: Animals • South Africa • World
August 18th, 2010
11:32 AM ET

World WebPulse: Australia election, Anelka, Fiona Coyne

Here's a look at some of the stories that are popular on Twitter, Google and other news and social media sites around the world.

French footballer speaks out: After France's dismal performance on and off the field at this summer's World Cup, many of the team's players were punished. On Tuesday, striker Nicolas Anelka - whose expulsion from the tournament in June sparked a revolt by his teammates - was suspended for 18 international games. "Nicolas Anelka" was a popular search on Google this morning because the French player had some choice words about his punishment. He said the people who punished him were "clowns" and that he is "dying from laughter" because of the suspension.

Australia election: As Australia's voters prepare to pick a prime minister on Saturday, the campaign is a hot topic on Twitter. Several terms related to the election were trending topics on Twitter. #Ausvotes is the main hashtag people are using to tweet about the election.

One interesting election discussion centered on a fake campaign ad for the Greens Party that was produced as part of a TV show about political advertising called Gruen Nation. The ad, which you can watch on YouTube here, was so popular online that the party wanted to use it as an official campaign commercial. But ABC, the network that airs the show, refused because allowing the ad to be used would make it seem like the network was picking sides, according to a spokeswoman.


July 13th, 2010
11:50 AM ET

Report: Youth leading Africa's war on AIDS

Activists gather at the American consulate in Johannesburg, South Africa, last month. The nation has one of the highest AIDS rates.

AIDS is losing its stranglehold on a key demographic in Africa, according to a U.N. report released Tuesday, and it appears the driving force behind the trend is common sense.

People between the ages of 15 and 24 are among the hardest-hit by sexually transmitted infections, and 80 percent (4 million) of young HIV patients live in sub-Saharan Africa, UNAIDS reports.

Polls show that AIDS is among the foremost concerns of citizens living in many African countries, and if the U.N. data are accurate, teens and young adults in these countries have decided to reverse the trend.

“Young people are leading the prevention revolution by taking definitive action to protect themselves,” the report states. “The impact: HIV prevalence among young people is falling in 16 of the 25 countries most affected by AIDS.”

Read the report (PDF)

Among the nations leading the way – and raising hopes that they can slash their countries' 1994 AIDS rates among young people – are Botswana, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia and Zimbabwe.


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Filed under: Africa • AIDS • Kenya • South Africa
July 11th, 2010
05:09 PM ET

Iniesta's extra-time goal gives Spain its first World Cup

Spain won its first World Cup title on Sunday, defeating the Netherlands 1-0 with an extra-time goal by Andres Iniesta in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The goal in the 116th minute came about seven minutes after the Netherlands went down to 10 men, thanks to a red card given to Dutch defender John Heitinga.

The winning move started with a misdirected cross from Spanish forward Fernando Torres. A Dutch defender tried to clear it, but the ball came to Spain's Cesc Fabregas, who sent it to Iniesta.

Iniesta volleyed it across the body of Dutch goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, who put a hand to the ball but couldn't keep it from going into the net.

The goal capped a physical match that saw 13 yellow cards and Heitinga's red card. Eight of the yellows went to the Dutch.


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Filed under: South Africa • Spain • Sports • The Netherlands • World
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