S.Africa’s apartheid-era foreign minister Pik Botha dies, aged 86

In this file photo taken on October 14, 1997 Pik Botha, former South African foreign minister, listens to questions from members of the TRC (truth and reconciliation commission) in Johannesburg. (AFP)
Updated 12 October 2018

S.Africa’s apartheid-era foreign minister Pik Botha dies, aged 86

JOHANNESBURG: Former South African foreign minister Roelof “Pik” Botha, whose long career in government straddled both the apartheid era and the presidency of Nelson Mandela, has died aged 86, local media reported Friday.
Botha served as foreign minister for 17 years until the end of apartheid in 1994, and then joined Mandela’s cabinet after the end of white-minority rule and the country’s first non-racial election in 1994.
“As you know, originally we were enemies,” Botha told the BBC in 2013.
“From our point of view, (Mandela) led an organization which we regarded as a terrorist organization and they saw themselves as freedom fighters.
“Of course all that had to change. It is not always that simple and easy to change mental attitudes, mindsets but eventually it did change. He played the role of a savior.”
Botha was described by some as a “good man working for a bad government” despite years defending the apartheid system.
He had several clashes with the hard-line government of president P.W. Botha, who was no relation.
In 1985, he drafted a speech that suggested Mandela could be released from prison — which did not happen until 1990.
The following year he said that the country could one day be ruled by a black president, earning a public rebuke from his boss.
Botha served as mines and energy minister in Mandela’s government before retiring in 1996.
Piet Botha told News24 that his father died in his sleep during the night.
“His wife Ina was with him until the end,” he said.
“He was very sick during the last three weeks and his body just couldn’t take it anymore.”


Man eats $120,000 piece of art — a banana taped to wall

Updated 08 December 2019

Man eats $120,000 piece of art — a banana taped to wall

MIAMI: The move was bananas ... or maybe the work was just too appealing.
A performance artist shook up the crowd at the Art Basel show in Miami Beach on Saturday when he grabbed a banana that had been duct-taped to a gallery wall and ate it.
The banana was, in fact, a work of art by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan titled “Comedian” and sold to a French collector for $120,000.
In a video posted on his Instagram account, David Datuna, who describes himself as a Georgian-born American artist living in New York, walks up to the banana and pulls it off the wall with the duct tape attached.
“Art performance ... hungry artist,” he said, as he peeled the fruit and took a bite. “Thank you, very good.”
A few bystanders could be heard giggling before a flustered gallery official whisked him to an adjoining space for questioning.
But the kerfuffle was resolved without a food fight.
“He did not destroy the art work. The banana is the idea,” Lucien Terras, director of museum relations for Galerie Perrotin, told the Miami Herald.
As it turns out, the value of the work is in the certificate of authenticity, the newspaper said. The banana is meant to be replaced.
A replacement banana was taped to the wall about 15 minutes after Datuna’s stunt.
“This has brought a lot of tension and attention to the booth and we’re not into spectacles,” Terras said. “But the response has been great. It brings a smile to a lot of people’s faces.”
Cattelan is perhaps best known for his 18-carat, fully functioning gold toilet called “America” that he had once offered on loan to US President Donald Trump.
The toilet, valued at around $5 to $6 million, was in the news again in September when it was stolen from Britain’s Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of wartime leader Winston Churchill, where it had been on display.