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Geopolitics

Nelson Mandela: Last Stop Of The Journey

South Africa’s former president Nelson Mandela went back to his natal village of Qunu in July, and he’s still there. Many South Africans fear it may have been his last trip.

A Mandela statue in London (paul-simpson.org)
A Mandela statue in London (paul-simpson.org)
Christian Putsch

QUNU - Nonkumbulo Mandela rattles the church door. It's supposed to be left open; ever since the handle broke years ago. "It's a scandal, you can't just let a church fall apart like this," grumbles Nelson Mandela's grand-niece. Grimly, she picks a little stick up off the ground, inserts it in the lock and turns. The door opens. Rays of sun shine through the hole-filled corrugated iron roofing of the Evangelical Methodist Church.

At this little place of worship on a hill in Qunu, there is a service every Sunday morning at 11 a.m. To attend, Nonkumbulo brings her own plastic chair. There are only five benches in the small space, and two are nothing more than wooden planks. Nonkumbulo approaches life without any particular expectations, and she isn't one for a lot of talk or gestures. But this issue angers her. The state of the schools here is a mess, she says, and a village needs a properly maintained church.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

The "Corrosion" Strategy: How Ukraine Targets Russian Networks And Morale

Russia continues to shrink its ambitions in Donbas, as Ukraine doubles down on its strategy of guerilla attacks, interrupting supply and communication contacts and ultimately undermines the morale of the enemy.

Ukrainian soldiers sitting atop a tank in Donbas on May 22

Clemens Wergin

For years to come, military experts will be studying how Ukraine managed to push back a far stronger enemy and grind Russia’s major offensive in the east of the country to a halt.

Some military strategists are already trying to find a term to sum up the Ukrainians’ success. Australian military expert and retired army major general Mick Ryan credited Kyiv's stunning showing to "the adoption of a simple military strategy: corrosion. The Ukrainian approach has embraced the corrosion of the Russian physical, moral, and intellectual capacity to fight and win in Ukraine.”

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Ryan argues that while the Ukrainians have used the firepower they possess to halt the Russian advance, while aggressively targeting their enemy’s greatest shortcoming. “They have attacked the weakest physical support systems of an army in the field – communications networks, logistic supply routes, rear areas, artillery and senior commanders in their command posts,” Ryan wrote.

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