Clare Nullis

Taxidermist had passion to revive extinct quagga

Rheinhold Rau, a German-born taxidermist who regarded it as his moral duty to reverse the extinction of the quagga, a zebra-like animal, has died. He was 73. The South African Museum, where Rau worked for more than four decades and well into his retirement, confirmed his February 11 death but gave no cause.

FW throws 70th birthday bash in Cape Town

South Africa's last white president, FW de Klerk, threw a 70th birthday party on Friday attended by fellow Nobel laureate Nelson Mandela, the man he freed from prison as apartheid crumbled. ''Around the world people recognise you as a historic peacemaker and nation-builder,'' Mandela said.

Mbeki draws inspiration from love of literature

President Thabo Mbeki has shared the writings of Deng Xiaoping with his spy service, intoned Duke Ellington to oil executives, astounded astronomers with Shakespeare and preached the Bible to lawmakers. Presidential spokesperson Murphy Morobe puts it mildly: ''He is extremely well read.''

SA needs more guns, says new lobby

South African gun lobbyists were launching a new organisation on Thursday to press their case that more -- not fewer -- weapons are needed to curb crime in a country notorious for murders and armed robberies. South Africa's 45-million people own an estimated 3,7-million licensed guns and many more illegal ones.

UN Aids envoy slams Tshabalala-Msimang

A top United Nations Aids envoy this week said poorer nations are doing better than South Africa in the fight against Aids, and accused Minister of Health Manto Tshabalala-Msimang of preventing him from working in the country with more HIV/Aids sufferers than any other in the world. ''Only the most energetic, uncompromising political leadership can turn this thing around,'' he said.

SA, Cameroon discuss disputed gorillas

Wildlife experts and government officials from South Africa and Cameroon wrapped up talks on Friday on the future of four rare gorillas claimed by both countries. The Western Lowland gorillas were smuggled out of Nigeria through South Africa and to Malaysia's Taiping Zoo about three years ago.

Aids experts say circumcision is the best ‘vaccine’

A leading South African HIV/Aids expert on Saturday advocated male circumcision as the best available ''vaccine'' against the virus in his country, where an estimated six million people are infected and more than 600 people die every day. South Africa has the one of the highest number of people living with HIV/Aids in the world.

Critical test for Mbeki on Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwean Parliament's approval of constitutional restrictions on civil liberties has fuelled calls for President Thabo Mbeki to reconsider his policy of gentle diplomacy with his northern neighbour. Some even suggest Mbeki withdraw an offer of a loan aimed at keeping Zimbabwe from being kicked out of the International Monetary Fund.

World Cup benefits for SA ‘not so great’

South Africa is looking forward to a windfall from hosting the 2010 Soccer World Cup, and hopes other top sports events such as the Rugby World Cup and formula-one auto racing will follow. But who will really benefit from the promised bonanza in a country still bearing the social and economic scars of apartheid?

Baboons the losers in war with humans

Georgie was hit over the head and is missing part of his ear. Penny's right hand was mangled in a trap. Tammy's bullet-riddled leg was amputated. Golden Arrow was shot dead, leaving her infant to starve to death. The baboons of the Cape Peninsula are caught in a war of attrition with their human neighbours.

European ban bites into SA ostrich industry

A century ago, ostrich plumes were South Africa's most valuable export after gold, diamonds and wool. The outbreak of World War I and the advent of the motor car -- which made fancy-feathered hats impractical -- snapped the trend in flight. Today, ostrich feathers and other luxury goods such as ostrich leather and meat are making a global comeback, one that faces new threats.

SA films shine overseas but struggle at home

South Africa's film industry has exploded on to the world stage with a spate of award-winning movies in the space of a few weeks. The domestic audience, though, remains in Hollywood's thrall. Yesterday, the poignant tale of a woman infected with the Aids virus, narrowly missed out on an Oscar for best foreign language film. It was the first South African film to be nominated for an Oscar.

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