Category Archives: Commentary

American Ubuntu: Springsteen, South Africa and 9/11

by John Allen

A reflection on Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s first visit to South Africa

Somehow I managed to miss Bruce Springsteen when others in my generation were listening to him.

I knew who he was, vaguely. But I guess journalism in the wake of first the Soweto uprising, then the states of emergency after the Vaal uprising of 1984, gave us all the excitement we needed. So I wasn’t among the South Africans who poured across the border into Zimbabwe in 1988 to hear him compare “the systematic apartheid …
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FOOTLOOSE: Column [Extract]
The Weekender (Business Day), Johannesburg, October 21, 2006

READERS of Footloose will be familiar with the phenomenon by which the subjects of authorised biographies suddenly get cold feet when biographers do their jobs properly and dig out the dirt on them.

Nelson Mandela’s success in forcing Anthony Sampson to cut out a reference to his support for necklacing is one example. Another is the row between Nadine Gordimer and her authorised-biographer-who-now-isn’t, Ronald Suresh Roberts.

It is, therefore, with growing respect for Desmond Tutu that Footloose discovered the Arch² plays things differently.

An account of relations between Tutu and …
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Trinity Church, Wall Street interviews John Allen

I recently visited Trinity Church, in Wall Street, Manhattan, to discuss Archbishop Tutu’s life and work. Trinity has posted a video webcast of the interview on their site.

Trinity has other excellent video material and documentaries on Desmond Tutu, which are also available on their site. In particular, the film “Faithful Defiance: A Portrait of Desmond Tutu” (link is the high-resolution version) contains footage of events in “Rabble-Rouser”.

“A riveting book… A profound portrait” – Comments on “Rabble-Rouser”

Commentators, writers and leaders have provided pre-publication comments for the jacket of “Rabble-Rouser for Peace.” Among comments which will be used, on the jackets of either the U.S. or S.A./U.K. editions:

“A superb book, showing what an extraordinary peacemaker—and warm human being—Desmond Tutu is. It makes fascinating reading.” — Mary Robinson, President, Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globablization Initiative, and Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

“Apartheid never defeated (Desmond Tutu) because of his passionate belief that the status of every human being is God-given and indelible… This book tells his story: how he …
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