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Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band will perform in South Africa for the first time, almost three decades after the group campaigned against apartheid.

Two shows are scheduled for Cape Town on January 28 and 29, 2014, with a third in Johannesburg on February 1st.

“Don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity,” said a message on Bruce Springsteen’s website.

Guitarist Steven Van Zandt founded the protest movement Artists United Against Apartheid in 1985.

As part of the campaign, Steven Van Zandt, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis and various other influential musicians recorded the protest song Sun City.

Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band will perform in South Africa for the first time, almost three decades after the group campaigned against apartheid

Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band will perform in South Africa for the first time, almost three decades after the group campaigned against apartheid

Its target was the gambling resort in the nominally independent homeland of Bophuthatswana, which attracted less politically minded acts to perform there by paying them large sums of money.

Apartheid ended in 1994 following Nelson Mandela’s election as the country’s first black president.

The three concerts in South Africa are part of Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball tour, which began in 2012.

The tour has seen the veteran rocker play a series of gigs in the US, Europe and Latin America over the past 18 months.

“After 24 years it’s a dream come true to promote Bruce Springsteen in South Africa,” South Africa’s Channel 24 entertainment website quoted Attie Van Wyk, chief executive of promoter Big Concerts, as saying.

“It’s definitely a personal highlight to confirm The Boss.”

Bruce Springsteen last toured in 2009 with his Working on a Dream tour.

E Street Band will move on to Australia and New Zealand after their South African dates.

Former President Nelson Mandela’s medical condition remains unchanged, the South African government has announced.

Nelson Mandela, 94, has been in a Pretoria hospital since June 8 being treated for a recurring lung infection, and his condition became critical on Sunday.

“Doctors continue to do their best to ensure his recovery, well-being and comfort,” the latest update said.

The statement came as Nelson Mandela’s family members were meeting at his home in the village of Qunu.

His eldest daughter, Makaziwe, and some grandchildren were said to be at the meeting in Eastern Cape province.

Little has emerged from the family meeting, which South African media say was called to discuss “sensitive family business”.

Nelson Mandela, 94, has been in a Pretoria hospital since June 8 being treated for a recurring lung infection, and his condition became critical on Sunday

Nelson Mandela, 94, has been in a Pretoria hospital since June 8 being treated for a recurring lung infection, and his condition became critical on Sunday

In the latest statement President Jacob Zuma thanked the South African public for “ongoing support and understanding”.

His spokesman said on Monday that South Africans should not hold out “false hopes”.

Mandela family members, including grandchildren, have continued to visit him in hospital, where dozens of white doves were released by a local businessman in tribute.

The scene at the hospital, where well-wishers have decorated a wall with flowers and supportive messages, is described as quiet, save for waiting journalists.

It is Nelson Mandela’s third stay in hospital this year with lung problems which are thought to date from damage sustained while working in a prison quarry.

He contracted tuberculosis in the 1980s while being held in jail on the windy Robben Island.

Nelson Mandela is revered for leading the fight against white minority rule in South Africa and then preaching reconciliation despite being imprisoned for 27 years.

He left power after five years as the country’s first black president.

Nelson mandela retired from public life in 2004 and has rarely been seen at official events since.

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Justin Bieber was the victim of a sophisticated Ocean’s Eleven style cash heist while performing in South Africa on Sunday evening.

Thieves have reportedly stolen more than one million rand ($100,000) in takings after a Justin Bieber concert at Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium.

The gang, armed with ropes, hammers and chisels, broke into a strongroom, according to local media and police.

Officials at the stadium, which hosted the 2010 World Cup final, only realized the cash was missing on Monday morning.

The haul included takings from the Justin Bieber concert and a gig the previous evening by rockers Bon Jovi.

Justin Bieber with his mother Pattie Mallette as he serenaded her on the night of the theft

Justin Bieber with his mother Pattie Mallette as he serenaded her on the night of the theft

“The money was taken from the building and they only realized today,” said a police officer from Booysens police station in Soweto.

“We don’t know how many people were involved as we are still gathering evidence.”

It’s thought the thieves may have taken several days to chisel their way through a thick wall at the FNB stadium outside Johannesburg.

They then lowered themselves by rope into a room used to store cash and escaped undetected.

South African police spokeswoman Katlego Mogale said: “The suspect had gained entry through the roof.

“They broke the tile of the bathroom between last night [Sunday] after the concert and this morning.”

Justin Bieber’s Believe tour, which began in the US last September and ends in Atlanta in August, has been controversial at times.

It has seen his pet monkey quarantined in Germany, drugs found on his tour bus in Sweden and the singer was criticized for a note he wrote at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.

Justin Bieber, 19, also collapsed on stage in London and had to apologize to fans after arriving late on stage days earlier.

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A rare blue diamond has been unearthed at Cullinan mine in South Africa.

The 25.5-carat stone was recovered by Petra Diamonds at its Cullinan mine and is expected to bring large profits.

Experts say the blue diamond could be worth more than $10 million, and the find gave a boost to Petra’s share price.

Similar finds in recent years from the Cullinan mine have commanded high prices and Petra, with operations in Botswana and Tanzania, is expecting a high level of interest from buyers.

The 25.5-carat blue diamond was recovered by Petra Diamonds at its Cullinan mine in South Africa

The 25.5-carat blue diamond was recovered by Petra Diamonds at its Cullinan mine in South Africa

“It’s very unusual for a diamond of this quality and size to come to market,” said company spokeswoman Cathy Malins.

The mine, north-east of Pretoria, has produced hundreds of large stones and is famed for its production of blue diamonds.

A similar 26.6-carat blue rough diamond discovered by the same company in May 2009 was cut into a near perfect stone and fetched just under $10 million at a Sotheby’s auction.

The diamond was named the “Star of Josephine” by its new owner.

Another deep-blue diamond from Cullinan was auctioned for $10.8 million last year and set a world record for the value per carat.

In 1905, the renowned Star of Africa blue diamond – the world’s second largest cut diamond – was discovered at the Cullinan mine.

The pear-shaped 530-carat stone was presented to King Edward VII and became part of the British crown jewels.

A study published by South Africa’s Stellenbosch University found that donkey, water buffalo and goat meat have been sold as burgers and sausages in South Africa.

The study found that 99 of 139 samples contained species not declared in the product label.

It found soya and gluten were not labelled in 28% of products tested, undeclared pork in 37% and chicken in 23%

This was mostly in sausages, burger patties and deli meats, it said.

The disclosure comes at a time of a growing scandal in Europe about horsemeat being sold as beef.

On Monday, Swedish company Ikea withdrew meatballs from sale in 14 European countries after tests in the Czech Republic found traces of horsemeat in a batch made in Sweden.

Leading supermarkets in the UK, including Tesco and Sainsbury, have also withdrawn beef products from shelves after they were found to contain horsemeat.

“There’s a fair share of fraudulent meat products on the South African market, according to a new study by meat scientists from Stellenbosch University,” the university reports on its news blog.

“The study found that anything from soya, donkey, goat and water buffalo were to be found in up to 68% of the 139 minced meats, burger patties, deli meats, sausages and dried meats that were tested. In other cases, even undeclared plant matter was detected.”

These ingredients were not declared on the products’ packaging labels, it said.

A study published by South Africa’s Stellenbosch University found that donkey, water buffalo and goat meat have been sold as burgers and sausages in South Africa

A study published by South Africa’s Stellenbosch University found that donkey, water buffalo and goat meat have been sold as burgers and sausages in South Africa

The study was done by experts from the Stellenbosch University’s Department of Animal Sciences and the Food & Allergy Consulting & Testing Services in Milnerton, Cape Town.

“Our study confirms that the mislabelling of processed meats is commonplace in South Africa and not only violates food labelling regulations, but also poses economic, religious, ethical and health impacts,” one of the researchers, Louwrens Hoffman, is quoted as saying.

Practicing Muslims and Jews, who constitute significant minorities in South Africa, do not eat pork, in accordance with their religious beliefs.

The products tested were collected from supermarkets and butchers, the university said.

“Our findings raise significant concern on the functioning of the meat supply chain in South Africa,” Louwrens Hoffman is quoted as saying.

“Even though we have local regulations that protect consumers from being sold falsely described or inferior foodstuffs, we need these measures to be appropriately enforced.”

None of the meat mislabelled in South Africa is harmful to humans if consumed, correspondents say.

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About 15,000 crocodiles have reportedly escaped from the Rakwena Crocodile Farm in South Africa’s far north amid heavy rains and flooding.

The owner was forced to open the crocodile farm’s gates on Sunday to prevent a storm surge, the local Beeld newspaper says.

Many of the crocodiles have been recaptured, but more than half are still on the loose, it says.

The floods have killed at least 10 people in Limpopo province.

The crocodiles escaped from the Rakwena Crocodile Farm, a tourist site about 9 miles from the small town of Pontdrif, which borders Botswana.

Zane Langman, the son-in-law of the farm’s owner, told the newspaper that many of the crocodiles had escaped into dense bush and the Limpopo River, the second biggest in South Africa.

“There used to be only a few crocodiles in the Limpopo River. Now there are a lot. We go to catch them as soon as farmers call us to inform us about crocodiles,” said Zane Langman.

“I heard there were crocodiles in Musina [about 75 miles away] on the school’s rugby field.”

About 15,000 crocodiles have reportedly escaped from the Rakwena Crocodile Farm in South Africa's far north amid heavy rains and flooding

About 15,000 crocodiles have reportedly escaped from the Rakwena Crocodile Farm in South Africa’s far north amid heavy rains and flooding

Zane Langman said he went to rescue friends in a flooded house in the area by boat on Sunday.

“When we reached them, the crocodiles were swimming around them. Praise the Lord, they were all alive,” he is quoted as saying.

The South African Air Force is being used to rescue people affected by the flooding in remote settlements, some of which are cut off from the outside world.

The floods have also affected neighboring Mozambique, where tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes.

Former South Africa’s President Nelson Mandela is celebrating 94th birthday on Wednesday and some 12 million schoolchildren across the country have sung a specially composed song as part of official celebrations.

Nelson Mandela will spend the day quietly with his family in his village home of Qunu in the Eastern Cape, near where he was born.

The former president met former US President Bill Clinton on Tuesday.

Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in jail for leading an armed anti-apartheid campaign.

Nelson Mandela met former US President Bill Clinton one day before his 94th birthday

Nelson Mandela met former US President Bill Clinton one day before his 94th birthday

Bill Clinton, accompanied by his daughter Chelsea, opened a new library for the No-Moscow Primary School in Qunu, ahead of his meeting with Nelson Mandela.

He told the children that Madiba – as Nelson Mandela is affectionately called in South Africa – believed in the future and not the past.

“When I think about Mandela I always think about someone committed to the future,” Bill Clinton said.

US President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, have also paid tribute ahead of Nelson Mandela’s birthday.

The US first couple hailed Neslon Mandela’s “extraordinary life and steadfast commitment to the principles of democracy and reconciliation.”

Nelson Mandela’s birthday is traditionally celebrated with the poor communities receiving help from those who are more fortunate.

To celebrate the number of years Nelson Mandela spent in public life, people are encouraged to spend at least 67 minutes of their time helping those who are less fortunate.

The guest list for a private lunch with Nelson Mandela has, however, been kept a closely guarded secret.

 

A controversial painting showing South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has been vandalized in a Johannesburg art gallery.

It appears a man poured black paint over the art work displayed at Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg.

It comes as the governing ANC was asking the High Court to force the Goodman Gallery to remove the painting.

The $14,000 1.85m-high Soviet-style, red black and yellow acrylic painting had already been sold.

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