Bright Life, Dark Death

A color-blind American scholar eager to hasten democracy loses her life to racial violence

AMY BIEHL DID NOT GIVE HER LIFE TO Africa, as she had planned. Instead Africa took her life -- not the democratic continent she had dreamed of and worked to achieve, but the one she thought she saw beyond, the Africa of hatred and futility.

Last week Biehl, 26, a Fulbright scholar dedicated to hastening South African democracy, became the first American victim of the pitiless violence that has accompanied the country's slow transformation. Her nationality was not significant to the teenagers who knifed her repeatedly in the head: her skin color was reason enough. But her murder was another indication...

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