Lion Kills U.S. Tourist, Drags Her Body from Car

lion by car safari skukuza lower sabie road, photo by arno meintjes

lion by car safari skukuza lower sabie road, photo by arno meintjes

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - A 29-year-old American woman who has now been identified as Katherine Chappell of Rye, New York. She had gone to Africa to further her campaign for animal rights and preservation which was her passion.

Katherine who was also a visual affects editor on the popular American HBO series Game of Thrones.  The vibrant, young, energetic woman was attacked by a lioness who suddenly charged at the vehicle, bit her and dragged to her death in Gauteng Lion Park.

Despite numerous signs and a pamphlet reiterating the dangers of rolling down windows while in the park, she failed to heed the warnings and was taking photos through an open window. After the tragic incident one of the advisory pamphlets was found right next to her seat.

Witnesses say that they saw the lion approach the car from the left side where the woman was taking photos. Scant seconds later, the lion had the woman's body in his mouth, dragging her through the open window and away from the car.

It is believed that the man in the car with her was a guide, and despite his best efforts to beat back the lion during the attack, he only succeeded in sustaining injuries, though these weren't life-threatening. Park workers eventually chased the lion away and paramedics were called to the scene. However, her injuries were too severe and she was pronounced dead.

By all accounts she was on a 'routine' drive through the 20-acre compound containing about a dozen big cats. The park has had prior incidents of injuries, and these incidents were also as a result of patrons failure to heed the park rules, regulations, and warnings. It appears, however, that none of these incidents ever resulted in fatalities.

Scott Simpson, the Assistant Operations Manager of the park, stopped short of blaming the victim, but did state that 'there are numerous signs, and we hand out slips of paper to all guests warning them to keep their windows closed."

Gauteng Lion Park boasts a variety of animals, including lions, zebras, giraffes and wild dogs.

Editor-in-Chief: @AyannaNahmias
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Racism Remains in Post-Apartheid South Africa

Apartheid, Photo by UN Photo
Apartheid, Photo by UN Photo

SOUTH AFRICA - The World Hates me Because I am Black... Thus I will Love the World Because I am Black.

I will always remember this moment: my mom and little brother coming into the house with mail. She hands me a large envelope with the biggest smile. I quickly glance to see Howard University in big, bold, blue font with 'CONGRATULATIONS' on the bottom.

I didn't know at the time that I would be attending a premier HBCU and one of the leading research institutions in the world. My reality soon became engulfed in Black pride, Black beauty, and Black history. Professors continuously remind the student body of the academic, technological, and cultural contributions by African people to the global network. Because of my experience at Howard University, I learned to appreciate my skin color.

I am currently studying abroad at the University of Stellenbosch in Stellenbosch, South Africa. The town is racially and economically segregated. Walking on one side of Eikstad Mall, a shopping centre, I mainly see students, the white middle class, and employees. However, the other side of the mall reveals a different story. Blacks and Coloureds fill the area while White tourists enthusiastically take pictures. The university itself is notoriously known as a racist university because of its history as an Afrikaans-only school. Even the architect of Apartheid taught at this university. So as a young Black woman, I am defying the slowly dying Apartheid-schema:

WHITE = GOOD & SUPERIORITY; BLACK = BAD & INFERIORITY

Stares continuously confront me as I walk through the streets of Stellenbosch. They range from genuine curiosity to a loaded question of “why are you here?” However, I must mention that the stares vary by the perpetrator's color (I am using color to make a claim and demonstrate my observations; I am not aiming to generalize nor to negatively portray South Africa and its people). White people look with curiosity, fascination, objectification, lust, and a complex, deep-seated hatred and contempt. Coloureds glare at me as if I remind them of a Black perpetrator in their past (Blacks and Coloureds do not have an amicable relationship mostly due to the systematic marginalization of Coloured placed slightly above Blacks - similar to the history and relationship between Blacks and Latinos in America). Black Afrikans stare at me with … well... I would argue curiosity, disgust, and confusion.

Does my natural Afro, American accent, and African-Native-American-European mixed features evoke a 'stop-and-stare' reaction in a non-American country?

Of course.

That would definitely be the acceptable explanation if these stares were solely genuine curiosity.

But they are not.

The actual is not the main issue. I do not favor staring because of my experiences in childhood. Staring is a natural phenomenon that will never disappear; I accept that. The main issue is what lies behind the staring that is not spoken, but clear: a covert global campaign promoting Black inferiority.

Everywhere I turn I see Black women destroying their natural hair with non-stop weaves, wigs, and braids. The Afrikan cultural traditions of decorating one's head with flattering hair-dos and wearing clothes that demonstrates one's roots and status became replaced with conflicting European standards of beauty. Like diamonds in the rough, I see Black people retain their heritage through their language, dancing, and the undying dedication towards Ubuntu. But this is overshadowed in Stellenbosch. Even if I travelled to Afrikan places that fought against the damaging effects of colonialism; like a mouse, it silently scurries in and conveniently leaves droppings as a reminder of its presence.

Ultimately, I travelled from an HBCU bubble, Black pride island back into the real world. A world that constantly reminds me that it loathes my skin color and anything associated to it. At every restaurant, I am confronted with “you don't belong here and should never belong here.” At a club, I am asked for extra identification. At the bar, several customers are served before me. In stores, I am monitored but not helped. From tourists, I am greeted with a traditional Afrikan language. To others, I am worthless until my American origin graces their ears. These experiences have truly influenced my study abroad journey. However, there is one that moves my soul to tears: the contempt for Black Americans from Black Afrikans.

Howard reminds me that I have brothers and sisters in Afrika and in the Afrikan diaspora, yet I believe the feeling is not mutual. A Black-American girl from Boston told me that in her conversation with some Afrikans, she mentioned that she identifies herself as African-American. To her surprise, she was met with laughter and a firm “you are not Afrikan.” We can always debate on 'what is Afrikan,' but the disregard of our historical bond disturbs me. Clearly the definitions of Afrikan, Black, isiXhosa vs. isiZulu, Zimbabwean vs. South African are significant to most. Yet, all hope is surely not lost.

One of my best days spent in South Africa was at Mzolis in Gugulethu, a township. My flatmates, Christine and Alyssa, and I were chilling in a lounge with Afrikan men watching a soccer game . Our passionate, young 'tour guide' stopped all conversations to remind us that our ancestors were taken from Africa for the slave trade; however, everyone in that room are brothers and sisters. The men instantly agreed and jokingly identified our African origins based off our physical appearances, mannerisms, and speech. Apparently, I am undeniably South African, but it is a debate between Xhosa and Zulu origins.

In coming to South Africa, I was reminded of the world's hatred for Blackness. But I also experience the community's love for me. South Africa presents me the challenge to love my existence. It shows me the remarkable diversity of Africa and Africans. As I prepare to return to America and Howard University, I shall remember this:

The world hates me because I am Black, Thus, I will love the world because I am Black, I love the world because it is Black, And that will never change.

Follow Chrycka on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Poet & Literary Critic: @chrycka_harper

This post is dedicated to my Black sister, Christine Smith, that shared the experiences described in this post in our semester spent in South Africa.

Carrying on Nelson Mandela's Legacy

nelson-mandela-photo-courtesy-of-flickr-emplaze.jpg

Jessamy Nichols, Africa CorrespondentLast Modified:03:02 a.m. DST, 17 December 2013

Nelson Mandela

QUNU, South Africa - Last week, the beloved Nelson Mandela passed away at the age of 95, leaving behind hundreds of thousands of mourners across the globe.

Mandela spent his entire life inspiring others and trying to make the world a better place, which made him more than deserving of an entire world grieving his absence.

Although he will be greatly missed, it is very important for those who respected and adored Mandela to carry on his legacy.

He advocated for equality for all of mankind, regardless of race, nationality, income level, or gender and this is an enormous struggle that most of the world still struggles with.

Racism and discrimination is evident across the world, and unnecessary war and strife continue to result because of it. In Mandela's eyes, most invasions and warmongering across the globe were unnecessary and imperialistic.

For example, he criticized the US invasion of Iraq as an act of "wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust." In many ways, he was right, evident in the recurring violence currently in Iraq despite us attempting to install a new, more democratic regime. If more leaders felt this way about international relations, there could potentially be a lot less tension and destruction.

Mandela also firmly believed that freedom from poverty is a "fundamental human right," which is an especially paramount point. He pointed out that in today's incredible advances in science, technology, medicine, and economics, there is the widest income inequality gap that there has ever been.

While the rich get richer, the poor become even poorer and more entrenched in this cycle. To anyone who wishes to honor Mandela's legacy, consider that Mandela called ending poverty a basic human duty. In today's world of excess and gluttony, there is no reason for more to not be done to end poverty.

“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.” ~ Nelson Mandela

Follow Jessamy on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Africa Correspondent: @JessamyNichols

Rebels Overthrow CAR President, Seize Bangui

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Alex Hamasaki, Student InternLast Modified: 03:10 a.m. DST, 25 March 2013

Central African Republic Government Forces, Photo by Brice Blondel for HDPTCARBANGUI, Central African Republic - Rebels overthrew the Central African Republic’s President this Sunday. According to the Associated Press, the rebels, known as the coalition group Seleka,  declared that the country has “opened a new page in its history.”

President Francois Bozize fled while extra French troops have moved to secure the airport, officials said.

Two months prior to the overthrow, the rebels had signed a peace deal to allow the President to stay in power until 2016. However, the rebels began accusing the President of not following-up in his promises.

In the days leading up to the overthrow of Bozize, the rebels have performed several armed attacks. They captured the north city of Bambari and the area around Bria.

Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary-General condemned the attacks. According to the Uganda Daily Eye, Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement issued on Wednesday night saying, “These developments gravely undermine the peace agreements in place and the efforts of the international community to consolidate peace in the Central African Republic.” Ban urged for all parties to cease hostilities immediately.

The Central African Republic (CAR) President Bozize pleaded with Foreign Powers for help. He focused especially on seeking French assistance, as they were their former colonizer.

Paris declined military assistance.

Following the overthrow of Bozize by the rebels, Reuters reports that the French President’s office said that they would send more troops to protect their citizens. President François Hollande spoke with Ban and Chadian President Idriss Deby and reiterated his plea for restraint and dialogue between the parties.

Associated Press reports that Ban condemned the unconstitutional seizure of power and called for a restoration of constitutional order. He also expressed concern over reports of human rights violations.

Central African Republic, a nation of 4.5 million, has long been wracked by rebellions and power grabs. Bozize himself took power in 2003 following a rebellion, and his tenure has been marked by conflict with myriad armed groups.

The landlocked country has been wracked by rebellions and power grabs. CAR held their first multi-party democratic elections in 1933 which brought Ange-Felix Patasse to power. He lost popular support and was overthrown in 2003 by French-backed Bozize. Following Bozize’s re-election in 2011, his rule was plagued with corruption, underdevelopment, authoritarianism, and the creation of an open rebellion against Bozize’s government by an alliance of armed opposition factions known as Seleka.

In December of 2012, Seleka launched its offensive, accusing Bozize of reneging on a peace deal and demanded that he step down.

Seleka signed a ceasefire agreement and joined a power-sharing agreement government on 11 January 2013 and dropped their demands for Bozize to resign. However, on 23 January 2013, the ceasefire was broken and the government blamed Seleka, Seleka blaming the government for failing to honor the terms of the power-sharing agreement.

By March 24, rebels entered Bangui and took over the Presidential Palace. According to GlobalVoices, Michel Djotodia has declared himself as president of CAR. This information remains unconfirmed by other news sources.

The African Union condemned Seleka’s actions and announced a travel ban and assets freeze against actors involved in violating humanitarian rights or the January peace agreement, reports CNN.

The office of President Hollande said in a statement that some South African soldiers were killed in clashes that lead up to the overthrow of Bozize. UN spokeswoman Uwolowulakana Ikavi said that UN offices and some residences of UN personnel were looted.

Meanwhile in CAR, Seleka rebels urged citizens to remain calm and to prepare themselves to welcome rebel forces into the country, CNN reports.

The recent events highlight the problems of Bozize’s government. CAR is one of the poorest countries in the world, and among the ten poorest countries in Africa. According to the Human Development Index (HDI) CAR received a 0.343, which gives the country a rank of 179 out of 187 countries within their data.

HDI is a composite statistic of life expectancy, education, and income that ranks countries into four tiers of human development. Countries with ratings near 1 indicates high human development, while ratings near 0 indicate low human development.

Additionally, a 2009 Human Rights Report by the US Department of States notes that CAR’s human rights record remained poor, with concerns over numerous government abuses.

The take-over indicates the desperation of the country and its citizens. Without the improvement of the government, Bozize and others will find that peace will be difficult to negotiate with Seleka rebels.

Follow Alex Hamasaki on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Student Intern: @aghamasaki

 

Oscar Pistorius Wows 2012 London Olympics

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 00:05 AM EDT, 11 September 2012

Oscar Pistorius, Photo by Global Sports ForumLONDON, England – South Africa's Oscar Pistorius, also known as the ‘Blade Runner,’ races wearing carbon fiber prosthetic blades because he was born without a fibula in both legs which were amputated before he was a year old.

Pistorius is the first Paralympian to compete in the Olympics against able-bodied athletes. This double amputee inspired spectators, fellow Olympians, and Paralympians with his outstanding sports prowess at the 2012 London Olympics.

Controversy surrounding his use of the carbon fiber prosthetic blades and the potential advantage they may afford him against able-bodied runners was resolved in advance of his participation in the games though some remained unconvinced.

Pistorius, who is also known as 'the fastest man on no legs' brushed off any criticism and focused his attention on the games, and amazingly qualified for the 400 semi-finals though he did not make the finals.

On Saturday, 8 September 2012, Pistorius subsequently competed and won the final Paralympic Games track gold medal in the men's 400 meters as well as a gold medal in the 4x100 relay. This despite coming up short in his bid to defend the 100 and 200 titles he won in Beijing four years ago.

The Paralympics was the second-largest multi-sport event ever held in the United Kingdom after the 2012 Summer Olympics, and were the largest and most commercially successful Paralympics ever; 4,294 athletes from 164 National Paralympic Committees participated. The London Olympic Games contributed to significantly higher demand for tickets than ever before, breaking numerous sales records. (Source: Wikipedia)

London’s success in hosting the 2012 Summer Olympics also benefited the Paralympic sports by elevating global awareness and public enthusiasm for these inspirational games and the phenomenal participants who overcome significant life challenges to compete at the highest levels attainable by athletes from around the world.

"I'm so proud, this summer has been a dream come true and I couldn't hope for anything better. It's my 11th time on this track and I wanted to give the crowd something special that they could take home with them." (Source: Reuters)

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African Union Elects First Woman Commission | Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 00:58 AM EDT, 16 July 2012

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Photo by the Presidency of the Republic of South AfricaAfter much debate and contention, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, former South African Minister of Home Affairs was chosen as the new leader of the African Union (AU). Dlamini-Zuma is replacing incumbent Jean Ping of Gabon who has been the head of the 54-member Commission since 2008.

Dlamini-Zuma's ascendance was hard-won as there was stiff competition for the chairmanship. The ex-wife of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma proved to be a tough competitor and was rewarded with the honor of being elected as the AU's first female leader.

The newly built AU headquarters was funded by China as a gift from Beijing which continues to expand its influence in Africa. Located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the inauguration of the new building occurred in January 2012.

Since the AU’s auspicious start, it has suffered some setbacks, particularly with regard to its lack of diplomatic leadership during the Libya and Ivory Coast conflicts. The election process exposed internal rivalries between French-speaking countries that backed Ping and mostly English-speaking countries that favored Dlamini-Zuma.

In addition to division between Francophone and Anglophone countries, Nigeria and Kenya, two of the largest members of the AU reportedly expressed reservations about South Africa having so much power while some smaller nations felt that their issues and concerns wouldn’t receive equal consideration.

According to Reuters Dlamini-Zuma won after three rounds of voting at this weekend's summit. She received a final vote of confidence of 37, which provided her with the 60 percent majority required to be elected for a four-year term.

Tarsem Singh | The Fall

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 00:45 AM EDT, 13 June 2012

The Fall, Photo Still 4 by Tarsem SinghTarsem Singh, 51, born in Jalandhar, Punjab to a Punjabi Sikh family, is the acclaimed director of The Cell, and has created in his movie The Fall, a moving and seamless portrait of mundane life in a 1915 Los Angeles hospital inhabited by rich and mercurial characters.

This movie is filled with a visually sumptuous fantasy world of exotic bandits, evil tyrants, dream-like palaces and breathtaking landscapes.

Finished in 2006 it was later released in theaters in 2008 with music by Krishna Levy. The costume designer is Academy Award®-winner Eiko Ishioka (Bram Stoker’s Dracula). The Fall was shot on location in South Africa, India and many other countries.

After only viewing clips and trailers, the cable provider in our area finally added this extraordinary movie to its content offering. Words cannot adequately describe how magnificently Singh conceptualized this film.

It is in equal measure ludicrous and heart wrenching as viewers cheer for the heroes and marvel at the ­wondrous ability the young Romanian actress Catinca Untaru possesses but which many adults have lost, the power to imagine a world unfettered by the laws of reality.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iO0LYcCoeJY]

The framework of the story centers on the desire of the protagonist, Roy Walker, to commit suicide using the young girl, who is also a patient, as an unwitting accomplice. A stuntman by profession, he is paralyzed from a fall after performing a jump scene in his first film, and is now bedridden. He begins to tell Alexandria played by Untaru, an epic story which he will only continue if she agrees to get him pills with which he can overdose.

Tarsem's "The Fall" is a mad folly, an extravagant visual orgy, a free-fall from reality into uncharted realms. Surely it is one of the wildest indulgences a director has ever granted himself. Tarsem, for two decades a leading director of music videos and TV commercials, spent millions of his own money to finance "The Fall," filmed it for four years in 28 countries and has made a movie that you might want to see for no other reason than because it exists. There will never be another like it.

It tells a simple story with vast romantic images so stunning I had to check twice, three times, to be sure the film actually claims to have absolutely no computer-generated imagery. None? What about the Labyrinth of Despair, with no exit? The intersecting walls of zig-zagging staircases? The man who emerges from the burning tree? To the scene of the monkey, Wallace, chasing a butterfly through impossible architecture, "The Fall" is beautiful for its own sake. ;(Source: Roger Ebert review for the Sun Times)

Watch an interview with the director below and I highly recommend readers to rent or buy this movie and lose yourself in an alternate reality worthy of distraction.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOqSHKLrVC0&feature=relmfu]

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