Former South African President Botha Dies

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Tony Cox reports on the death of former South African President P.W. Botha. Botha died at age 90 at his home on the southern cape coast of South Africa Tuesday night.

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.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

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.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from