Alec Russell

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A little more than 12 years ago, I stood outside the Union Buildings, the light sandstone government headquarters in the South African capital of Pretoria, where the country's dour apartheid leaders made so many fateful decisions. It was there that tens of thousands had gathered in 1994, under a diamond-bright sky, to celebrate the birth of a "new" nation with the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as the country's first black president. Two years later, I had returned to interview Thabo Mbeki, then Mandela's successor-in-waiting. After an hour I had emerged confident that South Africa would be in safe hands.

My conversation with Mbeki ranged from the global economy to literature on the Highland Clearances, the 18th-century eviction of Scottish tenant farmers by their clan chiefs.…  Seguir leyendo »