Reopening Wounds

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South Africa will launch a new investigation into the mysterious 1967 death of Nobel Peace Prize winner Chief Albert Luthuli, an inquest that comes decades after the then-white-minority government ruled that the anti-apartheid leader died in an accident, the BBC reported.

Justice Minister Ronald Lamola announced Wednesday that the probe follows the National Prosecuting Authority’s discovery of evidence that contradicted the prior investigation into Luthuli’s death.

The original inquest found that Chief Luthuli died after he was struck by a train as he was walking by a railway line near his home in KwaZulu-Natal province.

At the time, South Africa’s government had barred the anti-apartheid campaigner from leaving his residential area or participating in politics. Chief Luthuli’s family and supporters allege that the regime murdered him and covered it up.

He was the leader of the banned African National Congress (ANC), the liberation movement that came to power in 1994 when apartheid ended. Chief Luthuli won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1960 for his anti-apartheid efforts.

Other South Africans who later received the award include Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 1984 and Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk in 1993.

Mandela later became South Africa’s first democratically elected president in 1994, succeeding De Klerk. Under Mandela, the new government established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to investigate apartheid-era crimes.

Meanwhile, Lamola also announced inquests regarding the deaths of two other prominent anti-apartheid activists.

The recent probes come as South Africans prepare to cast their ballot in the upcoming general elections later this month.

The ruling ANC, which has dominated South Africa for 30 years, faces its toughest challenge yet in the May 29 vote, with polls predicting it could lose its parliamentary majority for the first time in three decades.

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