Mandela and Soweto: a Lesson for Angola

When I was a teenager, the images of police repression of black demonstrators in Soweto, South Africa, had a deep impact on me. I always wondered how those defenseless people continued to confront the racists’ deadly hatred with dances, marches and songs.   These images went together with those of Nelson Mandela, the greatest symbol of resistance, whom the apartheid regime kept jailed in the maximum security prison of Robben Island.   There was a third image, too, this one closer to home: the war in Angola. The South African army had invaded the country and was supporting UNITA’s guerrilla campaign. The Angolan government, with the necessary support from the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces, saw itself as being on the frontline against apartheid. It was the era of the Cold War, of complex alliances, and of deadly divisions among Angolans. For a teenager the question was simpler. It was a […]

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