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“A South African Journey: Bomb Maker to Police Chief”

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Fascinating story in yesterday’s New York Times about Robert McBride, the new police chief of the huge Ekurhuleni district in eastern Johannesburg.

McBride, a mixed-race former anti-aparheid guerilla fighter, now represents the establishment, which two decades ago he did his level best to destroy. From the article:

“At the height of the violence over apartheid, McBride was a legendary bomb maker, whose shrapnel-packed explosives helped shake South Africa’s white rulers to the core.

“His most devastating attack, in June 1986, killed 3 civilians and wounded 73 others at Magoo’s Bar on a Durban beach.

“To many who fought apartheid, McBride is a hero who risked his life to defy white supremacy; to others, he is a slayer of innocents.”

McBride was captured weeks after the Durban bombing, and was beaten regularly while in prison for the next six years, four of them on death row.

After his release in 1992, he served two years as a member of Parliament, then began a career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After he was arrested in Mozambique in 1998 on suspicion of gun smuggling, he lost his position in the Foreign Ministry, and so began a new career in law enforcement.

I am amazed that this man can live publicly without fearing for his life at every moment, much less be a police commander.

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About bookofjoe

  • South African

    This is South Africa, since I’m not allowed personal attacks, I’ll just say that all our goverment officials have a criminal record (most have commited post 1990/1994 ). That includes people like presidents, vice presidents, their family friends etc. If Iraq had beaten the US invasion, Saddam Hussein would’ve also been noted as “histories favourite grandfather”. I suggest to the author, come and visit our country, it really is beautiful. BUT people here are differant. Murderers/rapists etc. get released for our presidents birthday. If they aren’t that lucky, they get a 6month sentence. We have the second highest violent crimes rate in the world. The opposition party…well they get laughed at and called racist for airing views such as, it being rediculous for our newly appointed Deputy President to fly to the middle east with her family and friends on tax payers money (this is africa, we hardly have money) and that taking away our commando units from otherwise unprotected farms in a country where racial attacks like these are common, also is a bad idea.

    To coin our president, “So, let me begin (end). I am an (white)African. I owe my being to the hills and the valleys, the mountains and the glades, the rivers, the deserts, the trees, the flowers, the seas and the ever-changing seasons that define the face of our native land. ”

    And that is why, through all our problems, I am here. Proudly South African!!!