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South Africa marks 50 years since Mandela’s arrest

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South Africa will unveil its latest monument to Nelson Mandela on Saturday, a new statue along a rural highway to mark the spot where he was arrested 50 years ago for his struggle against white rule.

Mandela, now 94, was arrested as a young liberation fighter on August 5, 1962, near the town of Howick, just months after he founded the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC).

He had recently returned from a trip across Africa drumming up support for the new Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), or “Spear of the Nation”.

A modest monument at the site of his arrest was put up in 1996, but it will now be eclipsed by the monumental sculpture made up of 50 steel rods of between five and 10 metres high symbolizing the prison.

When viewed from the right angle, a portrait Mandela steers into focus.

A makeshift exhibition — modelled from the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg — opened at the site last year, pending the construction of a proper museum.

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A coffee shop and souvenir vendors of beaded Zulu jewellery have already sprung up, as has a picnic spot where people can stage their weddings.

South African President Jacob Zuma arrived in Howick, a small picturesque town 90 kilometers (55 miles) from Durban on Saturday morning to unveil the monument.

Mandela’s life on the lam, dodging apartheid police while making appearances across the country, earned him the nickname “Black Pimpernel”.

He was arrested while travelling illegally to Johannesburg from Durban, where he had briefed ANC leader Albert Luthuli on his trip.

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Police found him disguised as a driver under the false name of David Motsamayi, in the car of the (white) theatre director Cecil Williams.

His arrest about 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Durban led to 27 years of incarceration, until his release on February 11, 1990.

“I realised that to try and get away would be a gamble,” Mandela said during a visit to the site in 1993. “I decided the game was up.”

“The arrest itself was done very courteously, very politely. The policeman was doing his duty, he did it according to the law, he was courteous.”

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It was never known who sold him out.

“He did not make himself known to his friends, including me, because we were watched and followed. It came as a surprise to hear that he had been arrested in Howick,” George Bizos, a lawyer and close friend of Mandela, told AFP.

“We learnt later that he was insufficiently cautious.”

Mandela made a splash at his trial, arriving to defend himself in court sporting the traditional Xhosa garb made of leopard skin.

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He was jailed for five years for organising an illegal conference abroad and for leaving the country without permission, before being sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964, when authorities discovered he was the head of the ANC military wing.

The anniversary of the arrest “reminds the country of how far we have travelled”, said Verne Harris of the Nelson Mandela Centre for Memory.

“Madiba now lives in a democratic South Africa, while 50 years ago he had to fight for freedom. While we still have many challenges and reality is still harsh for many South Africans, we have come a long way.”

The anniversary will also be marked by a new “Mandela Day Marathon” on August 26 that will end at the foot of the new monument.

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Rachel Maddow unleashes hellfire on Trump’s long history of appointing shady characters to his cabinet

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On Tuesday, in response to the news that Defense Secretary nominee Patrick Shanahan is withdrawing over a domestic violence scandal, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow walked through President Donald Trump's catastrophically bad attempts to staff the top levels of the military system — attempts that led to a long parade of people withdrawing in disgrace.

First, Maddow noted, former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort unsuccessfully tried to get a bank CEO he struck a corrupt deal with to the Pentagon — only for that CEO to himself be arrested and charged with a federal crime.

"Don't worry, though, they had a plan 'B,'" said Maddow. "The president found another guy to nominate for that same job ... That announcement, Vinnie Viola, that plan "B" seemed to be going well until this part of that nominee's track record was released by the local police department in Saratoga Springs, New York. A police incident report about the new Trump Army Cecretary nominee punching a guy out at a high-end horse auction in Saratoga Springs ... less than six months before Trump announced him as his plan 'B' nominee to be Secretary of the Army. I guess they didn't Google him."

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Trump says ‘Republicans do not believe in socialism’ — but promises to ‘defend Medicare and Social Security’

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President Donald Trump complained about socialism seconds before promising to defend socialist programs during his official 2020 re-election campaign kickoff in Orland, Florida.

Trump first complained about Medicare for All, which would expand the popular health care program for seniors to those below age 65.

"America will never be a socialist country," Trump argued, to applause.

"Republicans do not believe in socialism," he argued. "We believe in freedom, and so do you."

"We will defend Medicare and Social Security for our great seniors," Trump bizarrely said next.

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Trump introduced his family at his official campaign kickoff — including ‘my late brother Fred, Jr’

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President Donald Trump introduced a long-deceased sibling moments after officially announcing his re-election bid during a campaign rally in Orlando, Florida.

"And I am profoundly thankful to my family, I have a great family. Melania, Don, Ivanka, Eric, Tiffany, baron, Lara, Jared, Robert, Marianne, Elizabeth and my late brother, Fred, Jr." Trump said.

Fred, Jr. was Trump's older brother and died of a heart attack almost four decades ago, passing in 1981.

"In a telephone interview last week, Mr. Trump said he had learned by watching his brother how bad choices could drag down even those who seemed destined to rise," The New York Times reported in 2016. Seeing his brother suffering led him to avoid ever trying alcohol or cigarettes, he said."

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