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.