Former South African President Botha Dies
TONY COX, host:
And now we have a death to report. P.W. Botha, the former South African president, died at his home on the southern cape coast in South Africa Tuesday night. Botha served as president of the country from 1978 to 1989, the height of South Africa's apartheid struggle.
His administration was marked by tension and riots. Human rights groups estimate that more than 30,000 people were held without trial and often tortured during states of emergency called by Botha.
The finger-wagging hardliner was known for his bad temper and belligerence. He earned the nickname the Old Crocodile. In 1997, Botha refused to appear before a state-appointed truth and reconciliations commission investigating apartheid- era crimes against humanity. He called the commission a circus and said he did not authorize any murders.
In 2003, the commission released its final report and found him guilty of human rights atrocities during his regime. P.W. Botha was 90 years old.
In the days ahead, we'll bring you more on this news and how South Africans are responding.
(Soundbite of music)
COX: Next on NEWS & NOTES, an Africa update, the latest from the Congo, a billionaire's big offer and the world's most famous bones to tour the U.S. Plus, should you read after 7 p.m.? Nutritionist Rovenia Brock answers that question and others about diet myths.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.