SOUTH AFRICA: The Old Man & the Gallows

In the bloody 1906 uprising of the conquered Zulus, a 26-year-old Zulu warrior named Mdhlani Ngcobo remained loyal to the whites and was rewarded by being made head man of his village. Mdhlani married, prospered, begat children, grew old, respected and respectable. But one son, Clifford, became a thief and a gangster. Three years ago, son Clifford, all his bravado gone, crept into his father's hut. He whispered that he had murdered a white Durban policeman, and blubbered: "They will hang me."

But the police never tracked down the murderer. Mdhlani kept his son's secret, after first pledging him to...

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