TIME South Africa

South Africa’s Rolene Strauss Named Miss World 2014

BRITAIN-LIFESTYLE-MISS WORLD
Miss World Rolene Strauss in center during the grand finale of the Miss World 2014 pageant at the Excel London ICC Auditorium in London on Dec. 14, 2014. Leon Neal—AFP/Getty Images

Edina Kulcsar of Hungary was the runner-up

—(LONDON) — South Africa’s Rolene Strauss has been named the winner of the Miss World 2014 competition in a London finale televised in many parts of the world.

Edina Kulcsar of Hungary was the runner-up and Elizabeth Safrit of the United States took third place.

The winners were announced Sunday after a lengthy competition involving contestants from more than 120 countries.

Each had won the right to represent their country in a series of local and regional competitions.

This year’s contest was marred by the murder last month of Miss Honduras and her sister in that country.

The first Miss World contest was held 63 years ago in Britain.

TIME South Africa

South African Judge Says Prosecutors Can Appeal Oscar Pistorius Sentence

Prosecutors who say that Oscar Pistorius' five-year sentence is "shockingly light" are getting a chance to appeal his conviction

Prosecutors can appeal against the acquittal on murder charges of the double amputee athlete Oscar Pistorius, a South African judge ruled Wednesday.

The athlete was jailed in October for five years for fatally shooting his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Prosecutors said that the Jude Thokozile Masipa misinterpreted the law when she acquitted Pistorius of murder, and argued that five years was a “shockingly light” sentence.

The case will now go to South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeals, BBC reports. If Pistorius is found guilty of murder, he would face a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison.

The 28-year-old “Blade Runner” was the first double-amputee to compete in the able-bodied Olympics in 2012.

[BBC]

TIME South Africa

Briton Cleared in South Africa Honeymoon Murder Case

Court concludes there is not enough evidence that Shrien Dewani hired hit men to kill his new wife in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG — A South African judge has acquitted a British man accused of killing his wife while they were on honeymoon in Cape Town.

Cape Town High Court Judge Jeanette Traverso said Monday she had found Shrien Dewani not guilty of murder after concluding that the prosecution’s case did not have sufficient evidence.

Traverso delivered the ruling after deliberating for two weeks on arguments by Dewani’s lawyers that the case should be dismissed due to a lack of evidence

Dewani had been accused of arranging the murder of his wife Anni in 2010.

Dewani says she was killed during a botched carjacking. The state’s key witness, Zola Tongo, had said Dewani paid him to hire two men to carry out the murder.

TIME remembrance

Nelson Mandela Remembered, One Year Later

Mandela cover
The Dec. 19, 2013, cover of TIME Cover Credit: PHOTOGRAPH BY HANS GEDDA - SYGMA/CORBIS

The South African leader died on Dec. 5, 2013

It was one year ago, on Dec. 5, 2013, that Nelson Mandela died at age 95. To mark the passing of a man who U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called “a giant for justice and a down-to-earth human inspiration,” TIME put out a special issue, with remembrances from luminaries like Bono and Morgan Freeman, as well as a look back by the magazine’s former managing editor, Rick Stengel, who had worked closely with Mandela.

Stengel recalled visiting Mandela’s ancestral village with him, and finding that the South African leader seemed uninterested in talking about death:

Mandela might have been a more sentimental man if so much had not been taken away from him. His freedom. His ability to choose the path of his life. His eldest son. Two great-grandchildren. Nothing in his life was permanent except the oppression he and his people were under. And everything he might have had he sacrificed to achieve the freedom of his people. But all the crude jailers, tiny cells and bumptious white apartheid leaders could not take away his pride, his dignity and his sense of justice. Even when he had to strip and be hosed down when he first entered Robben Island, he stood straight and did not complain.

Read the full issue, here in the TIME archives: Nelson Mandela, 1918–2013

TIME Infectious Disease

HIV May Be Evolving To Become Less Contagious And Deadly, Study Shows

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Illustration of the aids virus, showing protein membranes which enable it to attach itself to the host cells Getty Images

The virus is adapting to the human immune system, weakening itself in the process

HIV may be naturally evolving into a milder and less fatal virus, according to recent study at Oxford University, which found that as HIV adapts to the human immune system it not only becomes less deadly but also less infectious.

The main indicator, the scientists conducting the research said, is that HIV is taking longer to transition to AIDS. Virologists say it may eventually become “almost harmless,” reports the BBC.

The Oxford researchers came to this conclusion by comparing HIV infections in Botswana with those in South Africa, where the virus arrived 10 years later.

They found that the time from the contracting of HIV to its emergence as full-blown AIDS was 10% longer in Botswana than in South Africa, indicating that a “watered-down” version has developed in the former.

Oxford University Professor Phillip Goulder said that the time for the emergence of AIDS symptoms in Botswana may have increased to about 12.5 years from 10 years a couple of decades ago.

“A sort of incremental change, but in the big picture that is a rapid change,” he said. “One might imagine as time extends this could stretch further and further and in the future people being asymptomatic for decades.”

[BBC]

TIME South Africa

South Africa’s Ruling ANC Looks to Learn from Chinese Communist Party

Then-South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing last year. Motlanthe has been announced as the principal of the planned ANC leadership school.
Then-South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing last year. Getty Images

The party of Nelson Mandela has chosen the site for a new school that will be based on Chinese Communist Party political education

Most South Africans don’t visit Venterskroon, a former gold-mining town, unless they are going there on vacation. It was the site of an inconclusive battle between the British and the Boers in 1900 but today the handful of mostly white landowners harvest pecan nuts or raise cattle while vacationers trek in the bush and fish in the Vaal River.

But the sleepy Afrikaner village is about to be transformed. It is slated to become the home of the African National Congress’ (ANC) new political leadership school, a project inspired and financed by the Communist Party of China, a burgeoning partnership of ruling parties on different continents that is causing concern in South Africa and beyond.

The ANC Political School and Policy Institute, which will include a swimming pool, halls, a fitness center, a pharmacy and a small shopping center, is due to be built on what is now a farm, which the ANC bought in 2010. Construction has been postponed while funding and planning issues are addressed.

The ANC says the institute will be modelled on the China Executive Leadership Academy Pudong in Shanghai, one of the Communist Party’s leadership and governance schools where party members and foreign guests attend classes on “revolutionary traditions,” learning everything from Marxist theory to media management.

In July, a Chinese delegation led by Tian Xuejun, China’s ambassador to South Africa, travelled to Venterskroon to see the site. They met with ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe and Nathi Mthethwa, South Africa’s Minister of Arts and Culture and the ANC’s Chairman of Political Education, to discuss $75 million in funding. (The Chinese embassy in South Africa did not respond to requests for comment.)

“We’ve been talking to people around the world, our friends; the Communist Party of China is one of those,” says Mthethwa. “We said to them, ‘Now look, we know that you have a political school, how did you start it?'”

The ANC’s courting of China has caused concern in the West. “In the worst case scenario, Chinese money in significant amounts and influence could tip the ANC in the wrong direction,” says Peter Pham, Africa analyst at the Washington-based Atlantic Council. “With the ANC being the way it is, if there is a heavy hand in the support, potentially it could result in shifts in governmental policy.”

The domination of South African politics by the ANC, and its members, known as cadres, can make South Africa seem like a one-party state, says Patrick Heller, international studies professor at Brown University. “Like any party in power for too long — the ANC has won every election since 1994 with over 60% of the vote — the ANC has amassed a tremendous amount of power. That power is increasingly centralized. That party itself is increasingly less accountable,” says Heller. “It’s hard to think of any better example of a cadre-based political party than the Chinese Communist Party but it’s the wrong model because at the end of the day it’s an authoritarian one,” he says. “Developing close personal relationships between the ANC and the Communist Party of China means you’re basically greasing the wheels and making it easier for the Chinese state and Chinese entrepreneurs. That is definitely not good. You want good bureaucratic management of these issues, not crony capitalism.”

As far as China is concerned, says Alexander Beresford, African politics lecturer at the University of Leeds, funding the ANC’s political school does not violate its non-interference policy, as the relationship is at a party-to-party level. “It’s not necessarily regular state-to-state relationships, Pretoria to Beijing style, but having other channels of influence,” says Beresford. “Exploiting these party-to-party channels gives it a strategic advantage over Western powers.”

China has been reaching out to ruling parties in other African countries also. In his book China and Africa: A Century of Engagement, former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia David Shinn chronicles how China has offered political education training for parties including Tanzania’s Chama Cha Mapinduzi party, Zimbabwe’s ZANU-PF and Namibia’s SWAPO. “It is provided at the request of African ruling parties,” says Shinn. “They may still prefer elements of Marxist-Leninist organizational structure, or at a minimum, the once-popular philosophy of African socialism.” The arrangement is usually an exclusive one. “China does not provide similar training for African opposition political parties,” says Shinn. In return, China wins friends and favors, he says, gaining “influence at the highest levels of government.”

The school is part of a bigger ANC strategy to counter the widespread corruption and nepotism the party has seen since Nelson Mandela was elected the country’s first black president in 1994. The ANC declared 2013-2023 the “decade of the cadre,” with the goal of putting every party member through some kind of political school. “Every cadre of the movement must have integrity for our people to have confidence,” said Mantashe in a 2013 ANC newsletter. “We must be bold in dealing with deviant behaviour.”

Whether the political training will help South Africa and other African governments end corruption in government is a different question. China has a network of political schools and yet it is still experiencing massive graft scandals involving senior officials.

The ANC is prepared to take that risk. And it will do so no matter what its critics say. The ANC’s partnership with China’s Communist Party, Mthethwa says, is its own business: “Nobody will dictate to us who our friends are.”

TIME portfolio

Go Behind the Scenes of Africa’s Fashion Shows

During his 25-year-long career, Swedish photographer Per-Anders Pettersson has covered a wide range of international news events: hunger in Ethiopia, civil wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Botswana and South Africa. His pictures won praise and awards. But it wasn’t until he embarked on photographing fashion shows in Africa that he found his beat.

In the last four years, Pettersson has photographed close to 30 shows in Africa, gaining full-access usually by virtue of becoming a familiar face.

“Partly [why] I jumped into this was because I’ve done so many of the normal African stories for so many years,” Pettersson tells TIME, referring to his previous work on the continent. “The feel-good African story fascinates me.”

Pettersson’s images are not only set to challenge stereotypes in African fashion, which include animal prints and ethnic designs, but are also meant to confront the “Western gaze,” a media misperception in which Africa is but a war-torn continent rampant with poverty, diseases and ethnic conflicts.

Back in 2009, Pettersson had originally set out to photograph Africa’s new middle and upper class, a fast-growing population in recent years that had attracted little media attention. He received an assignment to photograph a fashion show in Johannesburg, where he thought he’d find some subjects for Rainbow Transit, a photo book on daily life in South Africa after the nation’s democratization.

Pettersson was immediately drawn to this world of fashion: glamorous models in color-rich fabrics, elegant catwalks, and the people he had come to find: well-dressed locals at fancy after-parties. Ever since, he has been documenting the boom of Africa’s fashion industry.

“I feel the story is not only about fashion but also about the new growth in Africa,” he says.

Although South Africa is the capital of Africa’s fashion scene and runs six fashion weeks a year, Pettersson says that more shows are popping up throughout the continent – a sign that Africa’s economy is developing and people’s buying power are growing.


Per-Anders Pettersson is a Swedish photojournalist who has been documenting Africa for the past 20 years. Read LightBox’s piece on his book, RainBow Transit, published by Dewi Lewis in 2013.

Mikko Takkunen, who edited this photo essay, is an Associate Photo Editor at Time.com. Follow him on Twitter @photojournalism.

Ye Ming is a contributor to TIME LightBox. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: November 13

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. As separatists and Russian troops chip away at its sovereignty, Ukraine struggles with corruption while hunting heat for the coming winter.

By Leonid Bershidsky in Bloomberg View

2. Leading by example: One Silicon Valley superstar has put tech’s pernicious racism in his crosshairs.

By J.J. McCorvey in Fast Company

3. The most important element of the U.S.-China climate deal might be that China has stepped away from its go-it-alone approach on climate.

By Michael Levi at the Council on Foreign Relations

4. Is the next frontier of mesh networks — like the one that linked protestors in Hong Kong — serving news?

By Susan E. McGregor at NiemanLab

5. Lessons from the Bulungula Incubator: Zeroing in on poverty at the most basic level can catalyze community change — and transforms lives.

By Réjane Woodroffe in the Aspen Idea

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME South Africa

South African Prosecutors to Appeal Oscar Pistorius Sentence

Oscar Pistorius Is Tried For The Murder Of His Girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
Oscar Pistorius sits in the Pretoria High Court on September 11, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Phill Magakoe—Getty Images

Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide in the 2013 shooting death of his girlfriend

Prosecutors will appeal Oscar Pistorius’ culpable homicide conviction and five-year prison sentence, South African officials said Monday. Judge Thokozile Masipa had cleared Pistorius of murder but found him guilty of culpable homicide, a charge similar to manslaughter, for the Valentine’s Day killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Prosecutors had asked for the athlete to serve a decade behind bars but Masipa, in handing down her sentence last week, described five years as “fair and just both to society and to the accused.”

The National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa said in a statement Monday that its team had been…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Soccer

South Africa’s Soccer Captain Senzo Meyiwa Has Been Shot Dead

Australia South Africa Soccer Mayiwa Obit
In this file photo dated May 26, 2014, South Africa's goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa makes a diving save against Australia during their friendly soccer match in Sydney Rick Rycroft—AP

Armed men entered a house where Meyiwa was staying, but the motive remains unclear

South African national soccer captain and goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa was fatally shot on Sunday by armed men who broke into the house where he was residing.

Two gunmen entered the house, located in the Vosloorus township near Johannesburg, while an accomplice waited outside, the Associated Press reported.

Authorities said there were seven people in the house at the time of the shooting, which reportedly came after an “altercation.” A motive for the murder remains unclear.

Meyiwa, 27, played for South African soccer club Orlando Pirates and also captained the national side in its last four games.

“This is a sad loss whichever way you look at it — to Senzo’s family, his extended family, Orlando Pirates and to the nation,” Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza said.

South Africa lost another prominent sportsman just a couple of days earlier, when athlete Mbulaeni Mulaudzi was killed in an automobile accident on Friday.

[AP]

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