On The Edge of Disaster

Talks in South Africa break down over the Boipatong bloodbath

The delicate surgery required to remove the cancer of apartheid was always deemed highly risky. Last week the ambitious operation was put on hold after a bloodbath in the black township of Boipatong set off a searing dispute among South Africa's various parties, black and white.

A breakdown had been brewing since May. But the negotiations, known as the Convention for a Democratic South Africa, collapsed altogether when the African National Congress withdrew from the talks after the Boipatong massacre. The A.N.C. also called for South Africa's team to withdraw from the Olympic Games. The Congress accused the government of negotiating...

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