Florence Panoussian

Absent Mbeki criticised over violence

South African President Thabo Mbeki, already under fire for perceived policy failings that caused an anti-immigrant backlash in his country, now faces questions about his handling of the crisis. The head of state is yet to visit the worst affected areas of Johannesburg after two weeks of violence against foreigners.

Zim meltdown: SA keeps counsel

South Africa has steadfastly refused to join in the chorus of criticism of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe despite paying an ever higher price for the crisis across its northern border. As Zimbabwe goes to the polls this weekend, analysts believe South African President Thabo Mbeki may feel little enthusiasm towards Mugabe but will never embarrass his fellow leader.

Zimbabweans get antiretrovirals in Mozambique

Zimbabwean orphans Evans (13) and Edmond Mahlangu (8) crossed a mountain range on foot to get to Mozambique where they are slowly recovering on life-saving Aids drugs in short supply back home. ''We walked for a day in the mountains. We had to keep quiet because of the guards,'' recounted the boys' 17-year-old sister, Emmaculate.

Hot property: Buyers snap up Ponte apartments

The tallest apartment block in Africa, which has long symbolised Johannesburg's inner-city decay, is shedding its image as a no-go zone in a radical makeover aimed at young urban professionals. The team behind a R200-million makeover believe apartments will soon be regarded as hot property, especially in the build-up the Soccer World Cup.

South Africans flock to Lion King

The Lion King is marking its 10th anniversary with a first run on the continent that inspired its storyline. The tale of Simba the lion, already seen by 35-million people since its Broadway debut in 1997, has been playing to packed houses since it opened in Johannesburg on June 6.

SA’s war veterans confront demons in the bush

Amid the majestic beauty of South Africa's Magaliesberg mountain range, veterans of the battle against whites-only rule are trying to banish demons that still haunt them. Matlapeng lodge translates from Xhosa as the ''Place of Stone'', but tears flow freely and deep-seated fears are revealed by the former warriors.

Africa and South America dance to same tune

The nations of Africa and South America, whose leaders gather at a summit in Nigeria this week, are identifying areas of common ground after their shared histories of colonialism. Talk of South-South cooperation will dominate proceedings at the talks in Nigeria at a time when Latin American powerhouses such as Brazil and Venezuela are striving for a greater presence on the continent.

Young ballerina teaches Alexandra to dance

Ballerina Penelope Thloloe, who ''survived'' being the first black student at South Africa's national arts school, now devotes her energy passing on her skills to children in Alexandra. Thloloe is a study in concentration as she trains students in the sprawling black township abutting Johannesburg's chic Sandton quarter, where she still lives.

Born, raised and married in a refugee camp

Ana Ndayizeye embodies the havoc that the unrest in Africa's war-torn Great Lakes region has played on people's lives. The 25-year-old was born in a refugee camp and knows no other world. Born, raised and married in camps, the second-generation refugee has flitted from the Congo to Tanzania to Mozambique, where she now lives in the Maratane refugee camp.

Soweto to get its first upmarket hotel

The Soweto township is soon to open its first luxury hotel as tourists in increasing numbers stream to the suburb, which was once the focal point in the fight against apartheid. The upmarket hotel is to rise in the historic heart of Kliptown as Soweto experiences a growing economic boom since the advent of democracy in 1994.

SA biker defies racial stereotypes

Corrie Holloway is one of an increasingly maverick pack of women challenging racial and gender stereotypes by being the only white biker in a motorcycle club in Soweto. With her blond and dyed Afrikaner hair and green eyes and ''biking in the blood'', Holloway embodies the rainbow nation by being a member of The Eagles.

Showjumping goes to Soweto

Having carved a niche as South Africa's first black showjumper in a sport traditionally reserved for rich whites, Enos Mafokate has now taken his love for horses to the heart of Soweto township. Mafokate is cultivating the hope that township children will one day too fly high the colours of South Africa's rainbow nation.

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