Zimbabwean court officials say a church leader has been sentenced to 50 years’ imprisonment for raping female congregants, forcing them to engage in sex orgies at his home, and for possessing pornography.
According to court documents viewed on Tuesday, Magistrate Hosea Mujaya described Robert Gumbura, leader of RMG Independent End of Time Message, a religious sect, as a “wolf in sheep’s skin” who abused his followers’ trust.
It is alleged Gumbura coerced the women to perform sex orgies with him threatening to “commit them into Satan’s hands” if they refused.
Gumbura (57), who has 11 wives married under cultural tradition, and 30 children, pleaded not guilty to the charges maintaining the sexual acts were consensual and led to marriage if the women became pregnant, as part of his sect’s doctrine.
Of the 50-year sentence, 10 years were suspended on condition of good behaviour. Read more here.
A film about the life of former South African president Nelson Mandela titled Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom received three Golden Globe nominations on Thursday.
The nominations were announced in Los Angeles, the company that produced the film, Videovision Entertainment, said in a statement.
Idris Elba, who plays Mandela in the film, was nominated for Best Actor and the film’s music composer, Alex Heffes, scooped a nomination in the Best Original Score category.
Irish rock band U2 was nominated for the Best Original Song for Ordinary Love, a song written specially for the film.
The film’s producer Anant Singh said it was an honour to have received three Golden Globe nominations. This was a first for a South African film.
Elba also received a nomination for Best Actor in a Mini-Series made for Television for his role in the television series, Luther. “We congratulate Idris on his amazing performance in the film and his double nomination, and we congratulate Alex and U2 on receiving this recognition,” said Singh.
The 2014 Golden Globes take place on Sunday 12 January.
Nelson Mandela was a “second Jesus” for what he had done for the world, said one of the people who had gathered outside his former home in Vilakazi Street in Soweto on Friday morning.
The former president and liberation leader passed away on Thursday evening.
“We are not here to mourn but to commemorate, honour, and celebrate him because of everything he has done,” said Lerato Hlongwane of Dobsonville.
She said she felt relieved that the country’s former president had died because the pain and emotional trauma the family had been going through “was too much”.
“I think it was time that God excused him,” Hlongwane said.
She was among a handful of people who sang and danced in the chilly weather until daylight after Mandela’s death was announced.
Ernestina Matshaka, a 70-year-old grandmother, brought some relief to mourners at the former president’s old house in Vilakazi Street.
Matshaka danced like a youngster to a freedom song about Mandela.
“As Africans when we are happy, depressed or mourning we sing. Singing relieves us,” she said.
“I am relieved that Madiba passed. It was unfair to expect him to jump out of his sick bed and run around like a boy.”
Matshaka said she would be very happy if South Africans could remain calm at this time and respect the legacy Mandela left. The crowd of young and old were energised by Matshaka, dancing and singing with abandon.
Police officers in about 10 vehicles kept watch.
Candles were lit and roses placed in front of the house in Vilakazi Street that was closed to traffic.
An old man kept lighting the candles the wind blew out. Throughout the night, people passed by the house to take pictures and leave messages of support.
Ofentse Nakedi, from Rockville, decided to visit the home and leave a message before going to work.
“I am very sad. My heart goes out to the Mandela family,” she said with tears in her eyes.
Nakedi said when death struck, it was custom to visit the family. “Unfortunately here you can’t really go in and say a prayer so I think leaving a message is the least we can do.”
Security guards at the house set up a large whiteboard for the public to write messages on.
People who had been singing fell silent when a car playing Johnny Clegg’s song Asimbonanga (isiZulu for “We have not seen him”) passed by.
Côte d’Ivoire midfielder Yaya Toure was named the BBC’s African Footballer of the Year for 2013 on Monday.
It was the fifth straight year the Manchester City star had made the shortlist but the first time he’d taken the award.
“Thank you to all the fans around the world who continue to support me and who love me a lot,” said Toure in a BBC statement. “I’m very proud, I’m very happy, this award is amazing.
“It’s the fifth time in a row [being nominated] and this time is very special.”
Toure, who has scored 13 goals for club and country this year, was the choice of the BBC’s global audience.
He held off competition from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon and Borussia Dortmund), Victor Moses (Nigeria and Liverpool, on loan from Chelsea), John Obi Mikel (Nigeria and Chelsea), and Jonathan Pitroipa (Burkina Faso and Rennes).
Toure was presented with the award at Manchester City’s Carrington training ground on Monday.
“We are pleased for Yaya Toure that he has finally won the BBC African Footballer of the Year on his fifth nomination for the award,” said BBC Africa’s current affairs editor Vera Kwakofi.
“This shows the high esteem in which he is held by lovers of African football and the respect the fans have for his exploits for club and country.”
Toure now has the chance to complete an awards double having been selected among a 25-man shortlist for the African Football Confederation (CAF) African Footballer of the Year for 2013.
In contrast to the BBC award, Toure has won the CAF equivalent in each of the last two years and winning it for a third consecutive year would see him match the achievement of Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o, winner in 2003, 2004 and 2005.
The winner of the latest edition is due to be announced at a ceremony in Lagos, Nigeria, on January 9. – Sapa-AFP
In Paul Salopek’s first year of his trek across the globe, the reporter walked alongside his camels for days in Ethiopia without seeing glass or bricks or any other signs of modern humanity, ate a hamburger on a US military base and was shadowed by minders in the Saudi desert. He has only 32 000 kilometres to go.
Salopek is walking from Ethiopia to Chile, a seven-year journey that aims to reproduce man’s global migration. Beauty and difficulty filled his first year, which is now nearly complete. In his second he will skirt the violence of Syria but will cross Iraq and Afghanistan.
After about 2 100km on foot, Salopek has walked through five languages (Afar, Amharic, Arabic, French, Somali), filled 40 notebooks full of words, said goodbye to four camel companions and has logged one 55-kilometre day.
Beginning in Ethiopia’s Rift Valley, where early man lived, Salopek walked east into Djibouti, where he ate a hamburger on a US military base, then waited nearly six weeks – because of insurance requirements over piracy attack fears – for a boat to take him over the Red Sea and into Saudi Arabia.
Much of Africa, the 51-year-old noted, is still dominated by humans who travel on foot.
“The Africa segment was remarkable for its kind of historical reverberations, and getting to go through historical pastoral cultures like the Afar, and walking through a landscape still shaped by the human foot,” Salopek said by telephone. “It really has struck me that walking out of Africa, a place that still walks, how fantastically bound to our cars the rest of the world is.”
Salopek’s journey will take him from Africa, through the Middle East, across Asia, over to Alaska, down the western United States, then Central and South America, ending in Chile. That’s about 34 000 kilometres.
The walk is called Out of Eden and is sponsored by National Geographic, the Knight Foundation and the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting. A two-time journalism Pulitzer Prize winner, the American plans to write one major article a year, the first of which appears in December’s National Geographic.
Salopek’s highlight from his first year was his access to Saudi Arabia, a country that maintains tight controls on what outside journalists can see. He noted that the oil-producing nation is 83% urban, a higher percentage than the US.
“I have been moving slowly through Saudi culture, from walking along highways with camels, to the surreal reality of it in some cases is walking with camels by a Pizza Hut with Saudis inside eating pepperoni, who look outside and see a skinny American with camels,” said Salopek, interrupting himself with the observation.
Saudi Arabia made global headlines in October over protests against its effective cultural ban on women drivers. But Salopek encountered many women drivers in the country. “They just happen to be in places where there are no reporters,” he said.
In some places in the country Salopek knew he was being watched by government officials, who explained their presence by saying they were concerned for the American’s safety. But most times he has had unfettered access, he said. He thinks he’s the first outside journalist to walk through Saudi Arabia since 1918.
Salopek doesn’t miss much from the Western world except information because of his limited access to the internet. He also misses his family, but his wife is joining him in Jordan, where he currently is. He says he’s on schedule to complete his seven-year journey, though because of his six-week wait in Djibouti and his boat ride up the Red Sea, he didn’t walk as many steps as he thought he would. He has suffered few physical pains or ailments, save for two blisters.
“This has been very fun and very interesting and I have no indication as I sit that I’m getting bored with it. On the contrary, walking into a new country on foot with your clothes on your back and a shoulder bag stuffed with notebooks was really fascinating.”