Sharpeville Remembered …

    I’m a twenty-two year-old reporter on the Sunday Express, Johannesburg, when police slaughter sixty-nine unarmed children, women and men at a black township outside Johannesburg called Sharpeville. The very name has since become a symbol for the evil that was apartheid. The massacre changes South Africa forever. Journalists’ cameras catch some of the horror of the Sharpeville killings. But the […]

Zuma Desperately Needs Performance Training

Dear President Zuma, Judging from your SONA 2015 performance — I mean your speech, not the farcical first act about which others have written with considerable dismay — I have to believe that you don’t have a communications coach. (If you do have a communications coach, however, he or she should be taken out behind […]

Long Walk of Prisoner #46664 (Part 3)

Part 3: Now Cracks a Noble Heart It’s July 18, 2001, and I’m back in Johannesburg for yet another training workshop with SABC journalists. This day is former president Nelson Mandela’s eighty-third birthday. The SABC Morning Live crew and I are invited to his Johannesburg home to broadcast early morning birthday celebrations. It’s not early […]

Long Walk of Prisoner #46664 (Part 2)

Part 2: “Viva Mandela!” It’s the eve of the 1994 general election in South Africa —first democratic election in the nation’s three hundred and forty-two years. I’m in Johannesburg leading a team of CBC TV journalism journalists. Our mission is to turn South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) journalists from state broadcasters into public broadcasters. From […]

Long Walk of Prisoner #46664 (Part 1)

Part 1: Honouring Greatness It’s nearly sixteen years ago, November 14, 1998. Toronto’s enormous SkyDome, cathedral of Our Lords of Sport, slowly fills with children. Forty-five thousand of them, some formal in private school uniforms, most in jeans and sneakers. They file in, school by school by school. Harassed teachers herd them to roped-off spaces […]

To Bomb or Not to Bomb, Eh Obama?

To bomb or not to bomb: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind… If that’s the question, what’s the answer? U.S. President Barack Obama is desperately trying to find that answer now that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has apparently loosed poison gas on his own people and, by so doing, crossed the […]