The Eastern Cape, Mandela’s Homeland, Still Suffers from Neglect and Misrule


The first time I visited Mthatha, 2009, parents were refusing to let their kids walk to school for fear they would be raped and virtually every lamp-post was plastered with flyers for same-day abortions. The second, 2012, as I drove in, a young beggar with filthy clothes and a dirty face knocked on my window when I stopped at a set of lights – to distract me so his two companions could open a rear door and rifle my bag. A few blocks later, when I pulled over for directions, the woman I asked initially told me to get out of town. “You shouldn’t be out here alone,” she said. “Tsotsis [gangsters] are everywhere.”

When Nelson Mandela’s body is flown to Mthatha in the Eastern Cape Saturday ahead of his burial Sunday in the nearby village of Qunu, he will be returning to his home and to the heartland of…

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