National Geographic : 2010 Jun
is a symbol of our decision to build a new way to work together. It was a very deep idea in me." But it would be years before Snyman's imagi- nation was captured by a small Afrikaans farm- ing town in the Western Cape, a community unable to deny that the e ects of apartheid had spilled on beyond 1994, when white rule ended and Nelson Mandela became the reborn nation's rst president. THE TOWN Worcester is a somnolent, gingerbread town prickled with white church spires an hour and a half northeast of Cape Town. In winter, the surrounding mountains are snowcapped. In summer, heat holds like hell's breath in the valley and melts the tarmac. e streets are wide and orderly. e houses are gabled and pictur- esque; lawns are cajoled into neat pockets; there are steroidal roses and trellises hanging grape- vines off verandas. It's the sort of town that makes you wish you'd worn a longer skirt and a higher collar. In the mid-1990s the lines drawn deep in the geography and psyche of the place by apartheid were still evident, but no more so than elsewhere in the country. It is true that blacks still lived mainly in Zwelethemba township---Worcester's undernourished twin across the Hex River--- while whites still lived on the dappled streets of the town itself or on farms laid at the feet of the mountains. On the other hand, Worcester had elected its rst Coloured (mixed race) mayor and its rst black deputy mayor. Also, in June 1996 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)---a courtlike body assembled a er the abolition of apartheid---had held a hearing in the town. Vic- tims and perpetrators of torture and abuse under apartheid had stepped forward and testi ed. e violent past was over, surely. So it came as a shock when, on a sweltering Christmas Eve a ernoon in 1996, two bombs ripped through a shopping area just down the street from the police station and the Dutch Reformed Church. e blasts killed four peo- ple---three of them children. Nearly 70 people were injured. All the victims were blacks and Coloureds. e rst bomb to go o , around 1:20, hit Olga Macingwane in such a way that her legs swelled instantly to the size of tractor tires. Min- utes later, the second bomb went o , and she was blown unconscious. "For 13 years I never saw the person who did this to me," Macingwane says, speaking from her sitting room in Zwelethemba on a very warm Sunday morning in late November 2009. Macingwane is a profoundly proper woman of a certain age. She is wearing a pink, ankle-length pencil skirt and matching jacket. Outside her home the township is in the midst of open-air church services, and Macingwane has to raise her voice to be heard. She gets up sti y---it is obviously painful for her to walk---and closes the door to the yard and to the world at large. e singing reaches into her home unabated. "In my head," she continues, as the choirs of at least three churches compete on the torrid air, "I pictured him. In my head he is a man of 50 years old, very big, with a long beard and a very severe face. at is the man who did this thing. at is the person I see in my nightmares." A TURNING POINT South Africa's selection to host the 2010 World Cup gave people a surge of con dence. eir nation could now be remembered for bringing the world soccer rather than apartheid. South Africa's modern infrastructure, enviably chic airports, cosmopolitan restaurants---its public face---all support the suggestion that its tragic history is just that, history. Much of Soweto, Johannesburg's infamous township in which apartheid-era violence visible to the foreign media occurred, is now a series of bucolic sub- urbs: Florida-lite architecture behind smooth lawns, sleek foreign cars in driveways. (Squatter camps encroaching, it is true.) South Africa has a burgeoning black middle class, and since 1994 the government has built almost three million houses. In Johannesburg, just across the road from a casino and an amusement park, tourists can visit the impressive Apartheid Museum. But scratch the surface of any community, and one way or another there it is, the A-word. Alexandra Fuller's rst book was about growing up in Rhodesia during its violent transition to Zimbabwe. James Nachtwey photographed the end of South Africa's apartheid era for the February 1993 issue.