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Can this woman restore the South African dream?

April 10th, 2013
02:44 PM ET

Graca Machel, the wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela has called her country "an angry nation."

She was responding to a spate of infamous rape and murder cases and police beatings that shine a very harsh light on the country's culture of violence, signs that her husband's party, the ruling African National Congress, may have lost its way.

Now, another woman, Dr. Mamphela Ramphele – the activist, medical doctor and businesswoman – believes she can renew the Rainbow Nation.

Ramphele has a fascinating story that's closely tied to South Africa's story. It starts back in the 1970s, when Mandela was still a prisoner on Robben Island. Ramphele joined the fight against apartheid. Along with Steve Biko, whom she called the love of her life, she helped to lead the black consciousness movement.

In 1977, Ramphele was forced into internal exile by the apartheid government. While she was there, her partner, Biko, was beaten to death in prison by police, leaving her to raise a child on her own.

She has stayed out of politics since then. She moved on to a varied and prominent career as a medical doctor, a World Bank official and a corporate leader, becoming one of Africa's richest women.

But now as she considers the violence, the inequality, the illiteracy, and the corruption of today's South Africa, Dr. Ramphele is determined that her country and its youth deserve a new beginning and she plans to try to lead the way.

In the video above you can see Christinae Amanpour’s full interview with Ramphele about her new political party and whether it has any hope of taking on the deeply entrenched African National Congress.


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soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Kevin Potter

    Excited, leadership MUST be centered on integrity first and foremost and Dr Ramphele offers a glimmer of hope in this sea of takers, lets take it

    April 10, 2013 at 11:34 pm | Reply
    • Sekou Kasimu

      If there is any truth to the rumor that the good doctor is worth millions, I doubt very seriously if she can do what must be done! She would first have to be able to distinguish the difference between a bourgeois reformation, and a people's revolution. One would think that after having been married to a brother like Steve Biko, she would know the difference!!! Nelson Mandela was a reformer, and that is why nothing has really changed for the better for the majority of the Afrikans, 20 years after he was elected president. Take the land back! Amandla, Awethu!

      February 28, 2014 at 4:38 pm | Reply
  2. SouthAfricaNewsToday

    This articles implies that Dr. Mampela Ramphele, the respected academic, is the former wife of Nelson Mandela. In fact she was the mistress of the late Steve Biko, the apartheid activist who died while in police custody. Dr. Ramphele had two children by him.

    April 11, 2013 at 6:40 am | Reply
    • amanpourcnnCNN

      We have inserted the name of Graca Machel to make sure there is no confusion between the two women referenced.

      April 11, 2013 at 6:53 am | Reply
  3. SouthAfricaNewsToday

    Dr Mampela Ramphele is not the former wife of Nelson Mandela. She did, however, have a relationship with the late apartheid activist, Steve Biko, who died in police custody in the seventies.

    April 11, 2013 at 6:43 am | Reply
  4. SouthAfricaNewsToday

    Dr Mamphela Ramphele is not the former wife of Nelson Mandela. She is a respected South African academic and political leader.

    April 11, 2013 at 6:46 am | Reply
  5. SA News Today

    This article gives the impression that Dr. Mampela Ramphele is the former wife of Nelson Mandela. The former wife of Mandela is Winnie Mandela, not Dr. Ramphele, who is a respected academic and political leader in South Africa

    April 11, 2013 at 6:53 am | Reply
  6. SA News Today

    Try again!

    April 11, 2013 at 7:01 am | Reply

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