Dortmund stun Bayern to reach German Cup final

first_imgBorussia Dortmund reached the German Cup final for a record fourth successive season after staging a thrilling five-minute, two-goal comeback to stun holders and hosts Bayern Munich 3-2 on Wednesday.Teenager Ousmane Dembele scored one goal and set up another in a five minute spell in the second half to help Dortmund come back from 2-1 down after having taken a 19th-minute lead through Marco Reus.“We started well but it is brutally difficult to play attacking football and defend well against Bayern,” said scorer Reus. “We had to believe in us, we talked about it at halftime and we did that. Bayern had the far bigger chances, that’s clear, but they did not score and we did.”The game lived up to its billing with both teams playing an attacking game and Dortmund avenging last year’s Cup final defeat to Bayern.The Bavarians have now failed to win any of their last five matches in all competitions and following last week’s Champions League exit to Real Madrid, have only the league title to aim for.“This is extremely bitter and I am very disappointed,” said Bayern captain Philipp Lahm, who is retiring at the end of the season. “We wanted a lot more out of it but we did not kill the game off when we could have.”“Now we must digest this and move on.”Three-times winners Dortmund face Eintracht Frankfurt, who edged past Borussia Moenchengladbach on penalties on Tuesday, in the final in Berlin next month.The visitors looked sharper at the start and pounced on a defensive mistake by defender Javi Martinez in the 19th minute, with Raphael Guerreiro’s shot bouncing off the post and Reus sweeping in to score.The hosts roared back and Martinez made amends for his mistake in the 29th, heading in the equaliser with Bayern playing deep crosses from the wings to stretch the Dortmund defence.Xabi Alonso delivered a perfect ball for Franck Ribery on the left in the 41st and the Frenchman found Mats Hummels whose low drive put them ahead against his former club.Bayern hit the woodwork in the second half through Arjen Robben and should have added at least one more goal after missing several more chances with the Dortmund defence completely overrun.But the visitors carved out an unlikely equaliser when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, lurking at the far post, nodded in a perfect Dembele cross in the 69th.The 19-year-old France international scored the winner five minutes later, curling a superb shot past keeper Sven Ulreich to complete a quick break after Lahm had lost possession.last_img read more

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WOW and empowerment

first_imgThe announcement that the Women of Worth (WOW) microcredit programme has been further extended to the hinterland regions of Guyana is a much welcomed initiative. Started under the previous Administration the programme empowers women, more specifically single parent women to take advantage of the economic opportunities around them, and so increase their participation in society. Since its launch in June 2010 thousands of women’s lives in Guyana have been impacted in a positive way as the programme seeks to remove the obstacles single parent women face in society, to enhance their self-esteem, to empower them to take advantage of the economic opportunities around them and increase their participation in society.  The ultimate goal of the project is to provide intervention and financial support to ensure WOW participants manage and sustain successful business ventures. To finance the project, the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) has provided 0 million and the Government of Guyana will provide an estimated million per annum. However, that figure has been adjusted to million over time. As such women can borrow between 0,000-0,000 from the bank to build their businesses, while the interest rate applicable to the loan is very low, providing that it does not exceed 24 months.  Empowerment and education is both an elevator and a springboard. It allows women to raise themselves up and to break down the divides that keep them from succeeding. At its best, empowerment is a breaker of shackles. A World Bank research shows that half of women’s productive potential globally is completely underutilised, and if that was compared to men, for men it was just a fifth. Women represent half of the world’s population but yet they represent far less than half of measured economic activity. A study of 60 developing countries estimated that the economic loss from not empowering and educating females at the same level as males amounted to billion a year. As the old adage says, “if you educate a boy, you train a man. If you educate a girl, you train a village.” It therefore means that education is the key to women empowerment. As Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace Prize winner says, “One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.” And nowhere is it truer as in the case of women, meaning that empowered, educated women will become leaders with the right mindset, making the right decisions at the right time. In ancient India, a divine code of conduct said “Yatra naryastu pujyante ramante tatra Devata, yatraitaastu na pujyante sarvaastatrafalaah kriyaah”. This means where women are respected, there the Gods make their home; where they are not respected, all human action remain unproductive.  Translating this code locally, as the WOW programme enters the realms of the interior of Guyana, hinterland women, more so hinterland single parent woman, like those living on the coastland, are going to get the opportunity to support themselves through this microcredit initiative. This will empower these women to seize the opportunity to control their own future. They will have a voice in their community in a way in which, perhaps, they have not had such a prospect in the past. Helen Clark, the administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, in her speech, women’s economic empowerment for sustainable development, in March 2016, said that strengthening women’s economic opportunities is an essential contribution to eradicating poverty.   Barriers in the economic and social spheres for single parent women has certainly reinforced inequalities but, empowerment is an entry point to opportunity that can have positive ripple effects within the family and across generations.  As Hillary Clinton has observed, women empowerment and equality is not only the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do.  The architect of the WOW programme should be commended for the initiative.last_img read more

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Study on ‘out of school children’ to be launched

first_imgThe Education Ministry (MoE) will be commissioning a study into ‘out of school children’, with the aim of working towards achieving equitable inclusive education.The launching of the study is scheduled for today at the Regency Hotel, Hadfield Street, Georgetown.The agenda of the first meeting of stakeholders includes discussions on the goals, methodologies and potential results of a study about out of school children, while building capacities; the agreement between the MoE and key stakeholders about the Out Of School Children Initiative (OOSCI) study and, create an inventory with available data.The most important aim of the study is to generate a document which will study “the problem of out of school children and children at risk of dropping out.”?The Global ‘Out of School Children’ Report notes that despite dramatic improvements towards achieving universal primary education, more that 59 million children of primary school age were out of school in 2013.In Latin American and the Caribbean, “more than 21 million children and adolescents are out of school or at risk of dropping out.” Guyana has not been spared, as significant disparities exist between and among schools in the urban, rural, riverine and hinterland locations.In Guyana, the unacceptable drop-out rate, unqualified teachers, especially in the hinterland and riverine areas, and overall low performance of boys, are the major concerns for the Education Ministry. Children with disabilities and those required to work in order to support their families’ incomes are doubly challenged, as the education system is not currently providing the flexibility to facilitate attendance and full participation.For example, it is estimated that around 16 per cent of the projected age appropriate population are out of pre-primary school, and although there are less primary school aged children out of the system, there is a need to address the 14 per cent, or more, that are out of school at the secondary level.Some children who are enrolled in the system struggle with the consequences of an age gap beginning in the first years in primary, which progressively increases with each year. For example, utilising local statistics of 2010, the profile shows that more than 600 boys and girls were overage at age seven, with the figure rising to 4300 by age 14.The country is challenged by limited data on the causes of drop-out and out of school children, at national and/or sub regional levels. This study sets out to correct the vacuum caused by the limited data on out of school children.This study is supported by UNICEF/GOG, and is one of several studies that have taken place or are scheduled to take in many countries around the world.last_img read more

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Adrian on the key to West Ham success: We need to beat everybody!

first_img 4 4 The team will need to adapt quickly to the absence of attacking talisman Dimitri Payet – out for three months with ankle ligament damage. Fixtures will come thick and fast over the festive period, but their goalkeeper is prepared to scrap for every point.“I think there is a lot of motivation to play against big teams and beat them,” he says. “We have shown that in some great performances away from home. If there is one thing we need to improve, it is to take the same approach in the other games against teams level or below us.“The league is long and you play against everyone. If we want to finish towards the top, we need to get results against everybody.”Adrian takes great care over each sentence, which adds purpose to his final note. Fully adjusted to life on these shores, this adopted Londoner is fiercely proud to be representing his new home. 4 West Ham ace Adrian 4 “They checked again when Darren [Randolph] came to the club. I said no again. I wanted to keep my number 13. The number on the back of the shirt doesn’t matter. It does not mean anything out on the pitch.”The tale fits with Adrian’s intriguing backstory. This is a determined man who enjoys upsetting the odds. After seven seasons in the reserves at Real Betis, his progress stalled by a cruciate ligament injury, a La Liga debut came only three years ago as a substitute against Malaga, after a red card for first choice Casto. Down to ten men, Betis lost 4-0. Without a string of saves from man-of-the-match Adrian, they might have shipped eight.Sounding BoardLater in the same campaign, Sam Allardyce travelled to Spain and offered the out-of-contract Andalucian an opportunity to play at Upton Park. He had a decorated compatriot and former Premier League favourite on hand for advice.“I talked with Pepe Reina before signing,” Adrian says. “He told me that if I had a chance to come here, to a historic club like West Ham, I shouldn’t think of anything else.“Pepe told me the football was slightly different. As a goalkeeper, you need to be alert all the time for shots from long distance. Over here, players try to score from far out. In Spain, they try to work a position closer to the box.“The other thing is aerial balls. In Spain, referees will blow for a free-kick if anyone touches you. Here, other players are given more of a chance. You need to be strong in your area.”Speaking enthusiastically about his new life on these shores, Adrian cuts a contented figure. He married long-term girlfriend Tamara in the summer and signed a contract extension at the start of October. On committing his future to West Ham until 2017, the 28-year-old cited a “special relationship” with the fans as a significant factor.Undeniably, the Hammers faithful have taken Adrian to heart. Performances are one reason – earlier this year Spain coach Vicente del Bosque asked assembled journalists: “Why is nobody asking me about West Ham’s goalkeeper?” – but passion also contributes to his popularity.Adrian describes himself as a player who “enjoys every minute of every game, and shows it too”. Prolific on Twitter, switching between Spanish and English, he also maintains interaction with supporters away from the Boleyn Ground.Penalty KingAbove all, one night has etched his name into modern West Ham folklore. Back in January, an FA Cup third round replay against Everton ended 2-2 after extra-time and went to penalties. Adrian dived left to save from Steven Naismith, but Stewart Downing’s miss at 4-4 meant the goalkeepers were, after a host of further successful conversions, required to take spot-kicks. This interview appears in the current edition of Sport magazine. Download the free iPad app from here, and follow on twitter @sportmagukHis Seville accent remains pronounced, but Adrian San Miguel del Castillo’s grasp of English has developed impressively since he joined West Ham in June 2013. In 15 minutes of lucid conversation with Sport, only one word causes the rangy goalkeeper to consult his patient translator.“It’s a…” Adrian begins, before breaking off and leaning right. “Como se dice ‘anécdota’?”The translator grins: “Anecdote. It’s just the same.”Magic NumberSlaven Bilic’s preferred shot-stopper, a mainstay of the Hammers’ early-season surge into the Premier League’s top six – interrupted slightly by last Sunday’s battering at the hands of Tottenham – had been explaining why he chooses to wear 13 on his back.“It is a long reason,” he says. “From playing in the academy at Real Betis, I always had number 13. When my contract finished there, I had been at the same club for almost 16 years.“I also wore a yellow jersey with Betis. In Spain, 13 is an unlucky number and yellow is an unlucky colour. Both together should be really unlucky, but not for me. My last season went very well.“When I arrived at West Ham, they asked me if I wanted number one because Jussi Jaaskelainen had 22. I replied: ‘No, I’d like 13.’ Everybody said ‘wow’. Everton’s Joel Robles went for power. His shot cannoned off the bar. Adrian was up. He marked out a long approach; so long, in fact, that there was time to hurl his gloves to the ground during a shuffling run-up. Rather than blasting it, though, Adrian passed the ball into the left corner (above), sending his opposite man the wrong way and causing Upton Park to erupt.“That is probably my best memory at West Ham; certainly the most famous,” he says now. “I enjoyed my save a lot, and then to score a winning penalty was unbelievable.“I felt very confident in that moment, and took off my gloves. It was an instinctive movement, but I was thinking: ‘I have finished my job in goal, now I enjoy my strike like an outfield player.’ I will remember that moment for the whole of my career.”Fresh PerspectiveHaving featured in victories over Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea since August, Adrian is building an enviable portfolio. He is also in a prime position to pinpoint the change in approach Bilic has encouraged from the Allardyce days.“The big difference is their mentality of football,” he explains. “Football is a big thing. There is not just one style. You can play however you want as long as you get results.“With Sam, we were more direct – straight to the goal and crossing a lot. Now, with Slaven, we are different. We try to keep possession of the ball and play it out from the back.“I didn’t know Slaven when he played here before and showed so much passion on the pitch. With us, he is quiet and calm. He tries hard to get across his ideas, and I think the team has adapted well to that.”last_img read more

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Kevin Costner steps into movie history at Grauman’s Chinese

first_imgIn 1990, his epic “Dances with Wolves” snagged him Academy Awards for directing and best picture. He was also nominated for best actor. At the ceremony, Costner thanked both fans and co-workers, from writers and directors to the “stuntmen who’ve taken risks to make me look stronger or jump farther than I ever could.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Oscar-winning actor-director Kevin Costner sunk his hands and feet into wet cement on Wednesday in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre – following, literally, in the footsteps of other stars. “I feel so lucky today. I feel so guilty,” mused the 51-year-old. “I’ve been able to live my dream. I’ve been able to stare down the bully, kiss the girl, and save the day. The staple of all Hollywood movies, the fantasy of every man.” Quietly handsome, Costner jump-started his sparkling film career with a lead role in 1985’s comedy “Fandango,” and went on to headline dozens of films, including “JFK” and “Field of Dreams.” last_img read more

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Accrington midfielder Josh Windass agrees personal terms with Rangers

first_imgAccrington Stanley midfielder Josh Windass has agreed personal terms with Rangers, STV has learned.The 21-year-old, son of former Aberdeen and Hull striker Dean, has already visited Glasgow and is keen on a move to Scotland.Windass and team-mate Matt Crooks are expected to move to Ibrox this summer should the Scottish Championship side agree training compensation.The Ibrox club would be required to pay a fee for both players, provided Accrington Stanley have offered the players new deals on the same or better terms than their current contracts. Clubs must pay compensation for players under the age 23 who move cross-border.Harry Forrester and goalkeeper Maciej Gostomski have already joined the Light Blues in the January transfer window.last_img

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Key talking points as Celtic defeated but not downhearted

first_imgWhile the shouts that Coman controlled the ball with his hand before finishing were justifiable from the Celtic backline, even without the bad luck it was still a defensive error that cost them again.Standout: Tierney impressed again. SNS GroupThe defender can do no wrong just now. Having just extended his stay at Celtic with a new and improved six-year contract, the boyhood Hoops fan is living the dream. Tierney is an international regular, fans’ favourite with both club and country and can more than hold his own in the Champions League. He is also still only 20 years old. His manager also pointed out that he had spent the game coming up against veteran Ajern Robben but did not look a foot out of place. In fact, he called him “outstanding”. The left-back was one of the star men on the pitch against Bayern Munich and if an even bigger force in the Champions League does not snap him up in the near future he is sure to continue being a key player for Celtic on the big stage.Equaliser: McGregor found the net. SNS GroupThere was no denying Scotland’s recent run of form has been largely down to the team spirit shared by the Celtic players who have been dominating the starting line-ups. It has been a welcome sight seeing the national side bond and gel like a club team while also possessing exiting talent and a strong desire to win. Those welcome traits were evident again on Tuesday when James Forrest and Callum McGregor combined for Celtic’s equaliser. Forrest had yet another outstanding performance for the Hoops this season while the latter did himself no harm when it comes to cementing a Scotland place under the new regime. Complete with Tierney, Scott Brown and Stuart Armstrong also putting in strong and sturdy displays, the homegrown talent did themselves proud on the European stage.Many Celtic fans will feel hard done by not to get at least a point off Bayern and the full-time stats reflect that.With 50% of possession the sides were hardly split across the pitch. Celtic had 11 attempts to Bayern’s nine while both had four on target.Celtic made 596 passes while their visitors made 641 and both successfully completed roughly the same amount with 83% and 85% respectively. Mikael Lustig was Celtic’s most accurate passer with a 94% completion rate with only Bayern’s Corentin Tolisso bettered him with 58 of his 61 balls going to his own teammate.Scott Sinclair, who was on the pitch for just over an hour, had the lowest number of passes for Celtic. He attempted just nine but did successfully pull off eight of them. Leaders: PSG are in unstoppable form. SNSIf you love your permutations and football arithmetic you will not be enthralled by the Group B table. Match day four’s results have left it quite straightforward as Paris Saint-Germain lead on 12 points from 12 after beating Anderlecht 5-0 on Tuesday night.It was not their first comprehensive victory of the group stages either, with them also beating Celtic by the same scoreline in the opening game of the tournament.Having also won 3-0 and 4-0 in their other respective matches it takes their aggregate score to a whopping 17-0 with two games remaining, the best a side has performed in the Champions League after four games.No other side even comes close in terms of form. Manchester United have also won four out of four but have scored significantly less goals. The same can be said for those with a 100% record playing on Wednesday night. Manchester City and Besiktas are also looking for their fourth win but their goal difference does not come remotely close to PSG’s. It s difficult to see who can stop them in their tracks which begs the question, are the Group B teams getting an early glimpse of the tournament winner?There was a glimmer of hope when Celtic equalised that they were on track for another momentous home result in the Champions League against European giants. It was not to be and ultimately it stretched their run without a win over a German side at Celtic Park to 14 and a half years.The last time Celtic enjoyed a victory on their own patch against one of Deutschland’s finest was during the 2002/03 run to the UEFA Cup final, beating Stuttgart 3-1 in the fourth round first leg. Celtic have since drawn 0-0 with Bayern Munich, lost 1-0 to Hamburg and more recently 2-0 to Borussia Monchengladbach in last year’s competition. For all the praise Brendan Rodgers lapped on to his Celtic side he also had to concede some defensive problems were still evident. It is a problem Celtic know they have to address but unfortunately for them it was all too evident again on Tuesday night.Bayern’s opener on 22 minutes came from a goal kick that found Kingsley Coman. Dedryck Boyata’s poor decision-making mixed with Craig Gordon’s hastiness to rush out of his goal cost the home side. Brendan Rodgers was proud of his Celtic players despite watching them fall to a 2-1 defeat to Bayern Munich and ultimately ending their Champions League dream.The best Celtic can do now is progress into the Europa League by finishing third in Group B but the manager was not too downbeat after the result on Tuesday.He was happy to see them cause Bayern problems, saying his side showed great composure, coordination and quality.We’ve broken down the main talking points from matchday four of the tournament.Opener: Coman scored the first goal. SNS Grouplast_img read more

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Friendly round-up: Celtic hit Rovers for seven in Dublin

first_imgCeltic warmed up for their Champions League qualifier against Alashkert with a 7-0 win over Shamrock Rovers in Dublin on Saturday.Brendan Rodgers’ side are about to begin their campaign to reach the group stage of Europe’s elite competition and had the perfect build-up as a strong side cruised to an emphatic win. Moussa Dembele scored the opener for Celtic before Odsonne Edouard and Callum McGregor both hit doubles. Scott Sinclair and Lewis Morgan then rounded off the scoring with solo efforts.Hearts have three more friendlies before they get down to competitive action in the Betfred Cup but continued their preparations for the new season with a 2-0 win at Dumbarton. New signing Uche Ikpeazu struck twice for Craig Levein’s side. Fellow Premiership side Hamilton Accies lost away to Clyde with David Goodwillie scoring both goals.Dunfermline played host to Tranmere Rovers but were on the receiving end of a 4-0 defeat, while Falkirk beat Airdrie 3-2.Forfar and Morton played out a goalless draw, while Stirling Albion were 2-0 winners at Stranraer.last_img read more

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Marshfield Senior Legion splits pair of league games

first_imgBlue Devils lose to Plover, beat RSWBy Paul LeckerSports ReporterThe Marshfield Clinic Post 54 Senior American Legion baseball team split a pair of games this week.The Blue Devils lost to Plover 5-2 at home on Tuesday and then came back to grab a 13-3 victory of Rothschild-Schofield-Weston on Wednesday at D.C. Everest High School.Plover scored three runs in the third inning and added another in the fourth to pull out to a 4-0 lead against Marshfield starter Sam Neville.The Blue Devils would not score until the ninth when they plated a pair of runs on a double by Mitch Susa but could not get any closer.Plover pounded out 14 hits in the win and rode the arm of Cal Geise, who struck out seven in eight shutout innings.On Wednesday Bobby Pilz earned the win on the mound for Marshfield.Shane Coker, Nolan Matson, and Susa each had two hits in the win.Marshfield was 11-3 overall and 7-2 in the Wisconsin Valley Legion League prior to a non-league doubleheader at home Thursday against Antigo.(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)last_img read more

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The bell that rings when the vote is called

first_imgTim CohenIt’s only days now before South Africa’s fourth democratic election, and political campaigns are in full swing. The atmosphere is highly charged but the campaigns are, thankfully, generally festive. It’s an interesting election, with new candidates, new parties surrounded by big news events and, for many, a host of new choices.Yet behind the posters, the arguments, the manifestoes and the speeches, there still remains a trace of an emotional backdrop that resonates at a deeper level in South African politics. It’s the quiet undercurrent of a painful past that surfaces only occasionally and only in moments of reflection amid the general atmosphere of campaign pandemonium.It’s difficult to tell how many people still hear this deep bell, but for a certain generation of South Africans, elections are not only a time for decision making and pondering the future, but also a time of recollection and, perhaps, a time when we scratch the scars of hurtful memories.For this generation, voting is sometimes less about the present or the future than a kind of testimonial. On one level, it matters much less who you vote for than the fact that you are voting.  It’s a curious experience, somewhat like casting a proxy vote on behalf of all of the people you remember who will never do so.I have always considered myself a fortunate member of the transition generation; my personal scars are thankfully slight. In truth, compared to many of the calamities and tragedies of world history, South Africa’s democratic struggle does not rank fantastically high in the extent of its personal devastation.But yet, there is practically no-one in South Africa who does not know someone or who was not themselves scarred emotionally or physically, either as victim or perpetrator, in the process of achieving democracy. So voting takes on this dual role – a political declaration of choice and also act of remembrance and tribute.Whenever I vote my mind still involuntarily wanders toward a handful of people – some of whom in truth I did not actually know very well. These little snatches of memory gradually expand from snapshots into short scenes. And from there, it’s a short step into a bewildering set of reminiscences, some gentle, some harsh.Some of the victims of my transition movie are now fairly well-known, like the photographer Ken Oosterbroek who was shot on assignment during the 1994 election campaign in, we think, township crossfire. I remember waking up staring into his face after a fabulously drunken party. I remember his ordinary decency as a person and his extraordinary ambition as a photographer.Some have all but faded from my storyboard. For reasons I don’t clearly understand, I wondered recently about an old university acquaintance, Jackie Quinn. I remember her as an incredibly forceful person, filled with the transcendent self-belief that many left-wing leaders had at the time. As a peripheral activist in Durban in late 1980s, I was the victim of her scorn for my remaining traces of liberal false consciousness and general lack of dedication to the cause.She was shot in Lesotho in 1985 along with nine other people, including her boyfriend Leon Meyer, in a South African Defence Force (SADF) raid. The government weirdly denied involvement in the raid at the time, despite admitting to a dozen or so others that took place during those years.The raid was led, we learned much later, by notorious Vlakplaas commander Eugene de Kock. At the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), de Kock first claimed Jackie was not a target and that Leon was the only intended victim. But she apparently answered the door and tried to grab the gun of one of the raiders, so they shot her, and then entered the house and shot Leon as he tried to load his gun.There were two terribly sad things about the raid. First, the group of nine were betrayed by one of their collective friends and, second, Leon and Jackie’s one-year-old child Phoenix was in the house at the time of the killings, and was left parentless.Some memories fade, some don’t. One part of my transition movie that remains crystal clear involves a former flatmate Michael Hamlyn. He too was killed in a SADF raid, this time in Gaborone, Botswana.We had a strange and not very enduring acquaintance. We were two oddities, both redheads; I was an arts student, and he a maths student, of all things for a politically conscious person to be.Even though we shared a flat as students with one other person, we bickered like children. I was for participating in student and civic politics; he thought this trivial, irrelevant, mundane, and almost embarrassing. He was right, but what else was there to do?He played an electric guitar badly, and despite a taste in music that was just appalling, he played it constantly and very loud. His thought patterns were erratic and staccato, and reflected his actions and even his speech.But he was also truly brilliant – a top maths student and a musician in the Durban Chamber Orchestra. The loud music was a way of blotting out the static in his overactive brain, I later surmised. Eventually, the constant arguments became too much and the three of us went our different ways.In truth, we were lost. The currents of South Africa society at that stage were running too strongly and our capacity to influence them as young, white university students was hopelessly small. I gave up and got a job in the real world. Mike ran away to sleepy Gaborone, erratic as always, where in June 1985 soldiers entered his house in a poor suburb outside the town and machine-gunned him in his bed as he slept. He was one of nine who died in the operation.This was an official raid, acknowledged at the time. It was called Operation Plecksy, and was unusual because it was one of the few in which the perpetrators asked for amnesty from the TRC. Through that process, we now know a little of what happened.The TRC report said this about the raid: “The raid was not a success either in military or public relations terms. According to the amnesty application of Anton Pretorius, so-called ‘deep cover’ agents of the Soweto Intelligence Unit had identified four primary targets as those ‘responsible for planning and execution of terror onslaught’. They were Mr Tim Williams, Mr Riaz Saloojee (aka Calvin Khan), Mr Patrick Ricketts and Mr Christian Pepani (aka Jeff). None were hit.“After the raid, according to Pretorius, three of these deep-cover agents – identified only as R103, RS 276 and RS 283 – were recalled to Lusaka where one was said to have been shot almost on arrival while the other two (including at least one woman) were tortured and killed at Quatro camp.“So negative was the general reaction to the raid that an elaborate propaganda exercise had to be mounted to justify the operation. This was orchestrated by Craig Williamson and included the planting of stories in newspapers like The Citizen and Sunday Times under such headlines as ‘The Guns of Gaborone’. In a discussion with the Commission, Eugene de Kock stated that some of the weapons displayed as captured in the raid were in fact borrowed from him by Williamson.”One of the other people killed in the raid was a prominent artist Thami Mnyele. Apparently, the raiders killed him and then stole a couple of his paintings. What a weird thing to do.So now, when I vote, I wonder about those paintings. What was on them? What happened to them? And I wonder about Mike, about our arguments, about our choices, about what might have been. At these times, he is very much alive in my thoughts, even though he is dead to the world. He is both life and symbol – an example that so many South Africans share the deep bell that rings when the vote is called.Tim Cohen is a freelance journalist writing for a variety of South African publications. He is currently contracted as a columnist to The Weekender and Business Day, where he has worked for most of his career. He was the 2004 Sanlam Financial Journalist of the Year.last_img read more

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