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African press review 14 April 2018


As her funeral takes place today in South Africa, should struggle veteran Winnie Madikizela-Mandela be remembered as a heroine or a villain?

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela will be buried later today in South Africa.

On the opinion pages of the Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay, writer Palesa Morudu warns that the legacy of the anti-apartheid struggle heroine must not depend on a denial of historical realities.

Morudu describes a situation in which adherents to the politics of adulation have been in close combat with those who promote the politics of condemnation.

Some praise "Winnie" because she was a fearless fighter for justice and a feminist icon, says Morudu. Others excoriate her because she was a violent egomaniac. The contest has been shrill and depressing in equal measure, Morudu continues, especially in the hyperventilation chamber that is Twitter.

She goes on to say we do history a disservice if we omit the truth about the characters and events that shaped democratic South Africa. So we must accept that Winnie Mandela was both a heroine and a villain.

Home to Orlando

The main headline in the Mail & Guardian reads "Hundreds gather to see Winnie home".

The report says hundreds of people lined the streets of Soweto as her body was brought to Orlando West.

The official memorial took place at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday.

Later today thousands are expected to gather at the same venue for the official funeral, where tributes from family members, close friends and international leaders will be delivered.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the eulogy.

Madikizela-Mandela will be laid to rest at Fourways Memorial Park in Johannesburg.

Uganda negotiating with Israel on fate of migrants

Uganda is considering a request from Israel to take in 500 migrants from Eritrea and Sudan, according to regional paper the East African.

The statement from Musa Ecweru, Minister of State for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, is the first official acknowledgement by Kampala that it is in talks with Israel about a refugee deal.

About 4,000 migrants have left Israel for Rwanda and Uganda since 2013 under a voluntary programme but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has come under pressure from his right-wing voter-base to expel more than 32,000 immigrants.

In January Israel started warning male migrants from Eritrea and Sudan that they had three months to accept the voluntary deal which involves a plane ticket and about 3,000 euros in cash, or risk being thrown in jail.

Rwanda publicly denied Netanyahu's claim it had made a deal last week.

Somalia-UAE tensions rise

The top story in the East African claims that strain between Somalia and the United Arab Emirates increased this week as Mogadishu ditched a military deal with its ally and seized millions of dollars in cash from an Emirati plane.

Rashid Abdi, an analyst with the International Crisis Group, is quoted in the report as saying that, while the UAE and Somalia have traditionally been close and Mogadishu has vowed to remain neutral over the Gulf divisions, the central government is nevertheless "perceived to be very much pro-Qatar".

Some of Somalia's federal states were unhappy with President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed's neutral stance and have broken with the official position to side with the UAE.

The 10-month Gulf crisis pits Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain against Qatar, which has been accused by its rivals of fostering close links with Tehran and supporting Islamist extremists.

Last weekend Somali security forces stormed onto a UAE civilian aircraft at Mogadishu airport and seized 10 million euros in cash.

A United Arab Emirates foreign affairs official said the money had been allocated to support the Somali army and trainees.

On Wednesday Somalia's defence ministry announced it was taking over the management of hundreds of Somali troops who had been trained by the UAE.

The UAE has been running a military camp in Mogadishu where it trains Somali soldiers, who are paid by Emirati officials.

Experts describe the bloated and largely ineffective Somali army as a collection of clan militia, with various international partners providing poorly coordinated training to different units.

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