David Smith is the Washington bureau chief of The Guardian. He has been based in the US since October 2015, reporting on Donald Trump's election campaign and presidency as well as Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian Institution. He is a regular contributor to BBC radio (UK), CGTN (China), CTV (Canada), France 24, and Radio New Zealand and has also appeared on American broadcasters such as CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and SiriusXM and on a panel at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Smith was previously Africa correspondent, based in Johannesburg, and covered the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, death of Nelson Mandela, and murder trial of Oscar Pistorius, as well as elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. A graduate of the University of Leeds, David was based in the UK for the Daily Express and The Observer and made several trips to Afghanistan and Iraq to report on the conflicts in those countries.
From "The Fall: What the Hit South African Play Can Teach Us about the U.S."
The cast of The Fall were born after that zenith of hopes and dreams, the release of Nelson Mandela in 1990. But like America, South Africa is now filled with angst and self-doubt, with some even questioning Mandela’s legacy. Raatus reflects: “I think the idea of this rainbow nation began disintegrating around 2009. Everyone feels something is wrong but, until they can see that it’s actually happening, they’re not going to believe themselves. I also think that Nelson Mandela made a lot of agreements to keep the peace in 1994 and that came at a cost, and the repercussions of that decision are beginning to really take shape.”
Nor could the triumphant overthrow of Rhodes’ statue disguise how the movement had plenty of abrasive identity politics of its own. There was a sharp gender split for a start. Mnisi recalls that during a building occupation, the women wrote “one patriarch, one bullet”. He says: “The women were angry at the men. They were tired of being oppressed in the movement by the same people that they are fighting with.”
These conflicts are recreated onstage in riveting fashion, sometimes with direct quotations of what was said in the heat of the moment. Mnisi adds: “Conversation is what’s needed, men and women talking together is what’s needed, and what happened in the movement is that there were talks that women had together. I went to one of the talks with the guys and all they did was play soccer and I think that’s what’s missing in the world, that men are not talking to each other. We’re not talking about our problems. Instead we go shit on top of our women.”
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- "Donald Trump's Land Seizures Tweet Sparks Anger in South Africa." The Guardian. 23 August 2018.
- "Obama Foundation's Fellows Include South African Activist and Afghan Refugee." The Guardian. 16 April 2018.
- "I've Seen this Racial Denialism Before - in Post-Apartheid South Africa." The Guardian. 19 August 2017.