Rising tensions at a South African platinum mine exploded Thursday in grisly violence as police opened fire on striking miners.
Blood-stained bodies lay strewn about a field in a police response reminiscent of the ugly days of apartheid.
Police have not released a death toll, but a South African Press Association reporter counted 18 corpses. It's feared more could be dead.
Witnesses described the scene as chaotic, making it seemingly impossible to determine who started firing on whom first.
The South African Police Service, though, issued a statement late Thursday indicating its members trying to "disarm and disperse a heavily armed group of illegal gatherers at Lonmin mine" when they were fired upon.
(CNN) - South African activists are staging a "Poor People's World Cup" to protest the exclusion of poor communities from the FIFA tournament.
The Cape Town-based Anti-Eviction Campaign (AEC) says it is staging the event because most South Africans are not benefiting from the official World Cup.
It says poor people can't afford match tickets and claims traders are being stopped from trading near stadiums, and that people were evicted from their homes in the run up to the competition.
AEC coordinator Ashraf Cassiem told CNN, "It's an attempt by poor people in Cape Town to bring to attention their plight as a result of the World Cup and the effect it has on communities.
"It's a platform created by poor people, for poor people, to expose the evictions and displacements affecting poor people in a negative way."
Filed under: South Africa
(CNN) - Hosts South Africa opened the 2010 World Cup with a 1-1 draw with Mexico on Friday as the world's greatest sporting spectacle arrived on the African continent for the first time.
An estimated global audience of hundreds of millions watched as the home side's Siphiwe Tshabalala crashed home the first goal of the tournament early in the second half to send Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium into ecstatic celebrations.
Mexico's Rafael Marquez leveled the scores with 11 minutes left, beating goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune from close range. But South Africa's Katlego Mphela missed a golden opportunity to win the match in the final moments as his shot bounced back off the post.
Filed under: South Africa
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/11/c1main.statue.afp.gi.jpg caption="20 years ago today, Nelson Mandela was released from Cape Town jail." width=300 height=169]
Special to CNN
Freedom lovers everywhere over a certain age recall the thrilling news 20 years ago today that Nelson Mandela had been released from a Cape Town, South Africa, jail.
After 27 years of isolation and hard labor, the world's most famous political prisoner emerged without bitterness, his humanity intact. When asked what he most missed while in prison, Mandela replied that it was hearing the sounds of children laughing.
Now 92 and frail, Mandela has declined to participate in this week's many celebrations in his honor except one: the opening of Parliament and the address to the nation by South African President Jacob Zuma.
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Editor’s Note: The death of South African anti-apartheid activist Helen Suzman reminds NAM contributor Brian Shott of how his encounter with Suzman in his college days taught him a few lessons about humility and self-righteous zeal. Shott is a freelance writer and editor now living in Oakland.
New America Media
Anti-apartheid activist Helen Suzman died on Thursday at the age of 91. As accolades from around the world pour in, news reports also mention the controversy she sparked on college campuses in the late 1980s.
I'll say. At my alma mater in Connecticut in 1989, we almost rioted when we heard Suzman had been invited to speak - a fact that, today, fills me with contrition.
Suzman, who helped found South Africa's liberal Progressive Party, was for 13 years the lone voice against apartheid in the South African parliament. She spoke out fiercely against racist legislation, and frequently visited anti-apartheid activists, including Nelson Mandela, in the nation's notorious prisons.
So what was our beef with Suzman at Wesleyan University, a small liberal arts school in Middletown, Conn.?
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