Nelson Mandela guided South Africa from the shackles of apartheid to multi-racial democracy. In doing so, 'Madiba' became an icon of peace and reconciliation who embodied the struggle for justice around the world. Branded a terrorist by his enemies, Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964, isolated from millions of his countrymen as they suffered oppression under a brutal apartheid regime that advocated racial segregation. When he was finally released on February 11, 1990, the event was watched live by television viewers across the world. Mandela later became the first black president of South Africa and he won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work. Andrew Quinn and Jon Herskovitz of Reuters recount Mandela’s extraordianry life and struggles following his death last week at the age of 95, with a sidebar from Trudy Vlok of The Big Issue South Africa.
For over four decades, Bon Jovi have filled stadiums around the world with their anthemic rock. The hits keep coming – though some of the hair has gone – and soon the hard-working band will be winding up after yet another exhausting world tour. Doug Wallen of The Big Issue Australia speaks to drummer Tico Torres about Bon Jovi’s continuing success and his work with the Tico Torres Children’s Foundation, a charity that supports kids suffering from homelessness, abuse, neglect and hunger.
Protestors in the poor working class suburb of Córdoba in Argentina have halted plans for GM crop giant Monsanto to build a seed plant in their community. The protestors are mainly farmers who’ve already complained about Monsanto spraying crops with a notorious pesticide, Roundup, which contains chemicals thought to be harmful to humans. Indeed, many children have reportedly fallen sick and affected areas have seen a rise in cancer and birth defects.
Surrealist comedy group Monty Python completely revolutionised humour in the UK when its first sketch show was aired in 1969. They went on to make a string of hit films, televisions series and stage performances but retired in 1980 with members embarking on successful solo careers spanning comedy, writing, travel and broadcasting. It was unclear if ‘Python’ would ever work together again but more than 30 years after splitting the British comedy legends have announced a comeback with a string of sell-out shows at the London O2 arena; tickets for the first date sold out in just 43.5 seconds. Jane Oriel of The Big Issue UK talks to Python Terry Jones about recapturing their unique comedy magic, preserving the Python mythology and the possibility of taking the show to the US.
Viking longboats are helping to tackle mental illness and unemployment in a unique project in Glasgow, UK. Amongst the wood shavings and machinery noise of the GalGael Trust boat-building workshop, long-term unemployed people are learning new skills to get them back into the work-force while building communications skills and alleviating the depression that often comes with unemployment. The prestigious workshop – where the 2014 Commonwealth Games baton was carved – trains its participants to build traditional boats and skiffs, as well as to sail them.
A small but significant number of younger war veterans are leaving the British armed forces with psychological as opposed to physical wounds. They often experience nightmares, mood swings, depression, phobias, anxiety, and relationship breakdowns – all linked to post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly known as PTSD. Many people in Britain feel more needs to be done for service men and women who return home bearing deep mental and emotional scars. Anne Brown of The Big Issue (UK) questions the ethics of the UK’s policy of recruiting 16-year-olds.
Immigrants in the US face harassment for the slightest infractions, and arrests could lead to people being deported. However, protestors led a recent sit down in front the US Capitol in Washington DC to demand basic rights for immigrants. In an article for The Contributor, a resident of Nashville, Tennessee, called Brenda Perez - organizer for campaign group Worker’s Dignity – writes about standing up for immigrants’ rights and facing arrest for civil disobedience.
The Roma in Europe are one of the most marginalised ethnic groups in the world, facing racism and harassment on a daily basis while enduring extreme poverty. Recent false reports about kidnappings have further inflamed prejudice against the community. Romany journalist Jake Bowers dispels some myths about Europe’s largest ethnic group in an opinion piece for The Big Issue (UK).
On 16 August 2012, South Africa witnessed the biggest massacre of people since the end of the Apartheid era when 34 strikers were killed at a mine in Marikana. Later evidence pointed to execution style killings carried out by the South African police. Now the British company that owned the mine, Lonmin, are coming under fire for possible involvement. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a not-for-profit organisation in the UK that produces high-quality investigations for the press, has found evidence to suggest the company collaborated with the police to form a plan to break the strike.
The Vatican has refused to provide a United Nations panel with information on the Church's internal investigations into the sexual abuse of children by clergy, arguing that its policy was to keep such cases confidential. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child put some tough questions to the Vatican relating to sexual abuse ahead of direct questioning in January. However, the Vatican’s response has been criticised by children’s rights groups as disingenuous and misleading.
US President, Barack Obama, has urged Americans not to be discouraged by the rocky rollout of his plan for free and reduced healthcare – dubbed Obamacare. Problems with the healthcare system’s website, starting at its launch in October, have seen the new law face criticism and Obama’s approval ratings drop. But during a speech this week the president promised that problems will be fixed and accused rival politicians of “rooting for this law to fail”.
Unexploded shells from artillery exercises in India have claimed 63 lives in past years. As a result, protests have erupted in a village in Kashmir because a picturesque meadow nearby has been leased to the Indian Army for further exercises. Villagers claim that not only does the danger of unexploded shells threaten their lives, it hurts their livelihood by taking away land that could be used for livestock and crops.
Skateboarding is changing lives in Cambodia. Due to its conflict-ridden past, the country has hundreds of thousands of children on the streets fending for themselves or working to supplement the family income. There are an estimated 10,000 working children in the capital, Phnom Penh, alone and half of them are girls. Now, a non-profit organisation called Skateistan is holding classes for youngsters, using skateboarding to break down class and gender barriers and to push kids into staying in school and not to touch drugs.
Der Künstler Romuald Hazoumè jongliert mit den Bildern unserer Klischees von Afrika und führt sie ad absurdum. Zu sehen im Kunsthaus Graz. Romuald Hazoumè stellt die Welt nicht auf den Kopf. Er verrückt unsere Wahrnehmung und das hat ihn zu einem der gefragtesten Künstler/innen der Gegenwart gemacht.
Erwin Wagenhofer kritisiert in seinem neuen Film ALPHABET ein Schul- und Bildungssystem, das Kinder nur noch im Kontext eines profitorientierten Wirtschaftssystems sieht. Dabei verkümmerten deren natürlichen Begabungen, aus denen heraus sie aber erst zu glücklichen und schöpferischen Menschen würden.
At just ten years old Daniel Radcliffe was catapulted to fame and fortune after being cast as boy-wizard Harry Potter in the hugely successful film adaptations of J. K. Rowling’s best-selling novels. But three years after filming the final Potter film, Radcliffe is looking to distance himself from the role and prove himself to be a serious actor. His latest role is playing the famous beat poet Allen Ginsberg in a movie called Kill Your Darlings. Radcliffe speaks to Sylvia Patterson of The Big Issue (UK) about growing up in the lime-light and his love of acting.
Colum McGeown grew up in the staunchly Republican Andersonstown area of West Belfast, Northern Ireland, but joined the British Army after becoming homeless, a decision which resulted in his family excluding him. After the loss of his legs in a bomb blast in Afghanistan, he decided to write his memoir – something he describes as a “…cathartic and cleansing experience…” McGeown speaks to Jennifer May of Ireland’s Big Issue about his terrifying experience of stepping on a long-buried land mine and his plans for the future.
This year marks the 10th Anniversary of Alberta Street News, a street paper based in Alberta, Canada. Linda Dumont - the publication’s editor - writes about her journey from being a vendor selling street papers in order to feed her family, to realising her dream of founding and editing her own publication for homeless people.
Private Eye magazine in Britain is famous for its satirical writing on politics complemented by hilarious cartoons. Writer and cartoonist Nick Newman looks back at 50 years of laugh out loud cartoons and selects his favourites from a recently released compendium, Private Eye: A Cartoon History, a lasting tribute to the golden age of cartooning.
Ivan Waldeck became involved with street gangs in South Africa at just nine years old. He rose through the ranks to become a leader and served ten years in prison for crimes including murder, attempted murder and assault. But three days after shooting his own cousin following a drunken weekend, Waldeck found God and he now tries to help reformed gangsters. Pastor Waldeck’s protégé’s include former gang leader Rashied Staggie, whose imminent parole is said to have sparked extreme violence in Manenberg, Cape Town, South Africa.