Time Capsule: 1990 – Beginning of the End to Apartheid

Lead: On February 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela and other South African black leaders were released from jail. This was the beginning of the end of South Africa’s brutal regime of apartheid.

Intro.: An A Moment in Time Time Capsule with Dan Roberts.

Content: The official system of apartheid, that egregious scheme of oppression and separation forced upon South African blacks by the white dominated minority government, was not implemented until 1948. Yet it reflected the reality of South African life had emerged since the arrival of the first Europeans in the 1600s. From the time the Dutch established a trading outpost on the Cape of Good Hope in 1652, white settlers and indigenous Africans had clashed violently. As the riches of the cape colony and attending regions became more and more evident (particularly after the discovery of gold and diamonds in the Transvaal) Africans increasingly lost their independence, land and freedom to move about without documentation.

 

Molotov-Ribbentrop Treaty (1939)

Lead: On the 23rd of August 1939, the Soviet Union and Germany signed a non-aggression treaty defining their mutual spheres of operation in Eastern Europe. Not surprisingly, within 10 days the world was at war.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The pact, which obviously had been in preparation for months, was signed within days of being proposed by German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop. To say that it shocked the diplomatic world would be an understatement, but, in retrospect, it made perfect sense. From Hitler’s point of view, not having to worry about an eastern front war with his bitter ideological antagonist in the east meant that his armies would face only England and France should they finally call his hand in the game of bluster and bluff he had been playing. Germany had absorbed Austria and parts of Czechoslovakia in previous months and the Treaty meant easy pickings should the two giant signatories turn their attention to Poland.

 

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: Temple of Artemis at Ephesus

Lead: The colossal temple of Artemis in the port city of Ephesus blended the size of Greek architecture and the decorative style of the East. It was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Ephesus was a major trading port in western Asia Minor, now in the Turkish province of Izmir. It was a commercial center and, by the beginning of the sixth century BCE, a cultural hub largely due to the construction in its precincts of the cultic Temple of Artemis, in several versions built on the same site over many decades, climaxing in a huge temple enshrined to the worship of the fertility goddess of hunting, Artemis, also associated with the goddess Diana, who according to the cult provided protection for Ephesus and for supplicants from all over the region in trouble and fleeing their enemies. The final structure was recognized by ancient historians as one of the wonders of the Mediterranean world.

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Dante’s Inferno II

Lead:  After Dante was banished from Florence in 1302, he wrote his great masterpiece, The Divine Comedy. By writing it in Italian, the language of the people, he helped drag readers out of their slavish devotion to Latin.                

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Active in political and cultural life in Florence, Alighieri Dante was banished from his beloved city after a rival political faction achieved power. He spent the next twenty years in exile, moving from town to town in northern Italy, being honorably received by aristocrats, and working on his most important writings.

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Dante’s Inferno I

Lead:  Dante, one of the world’s finest and most influential poets of western literature, was born in Florence, Italy, in 1265. He got caught up in the economic and political upheavals of his day.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Dante Alighieri was born of a prominent Florentine family during the high Medieval period and received a comprehensive education in classical and religious studies. His mother died when he was quite young, and at the age of twelve his family agreed that he would enter into a marriage contract with Gemma Donati. This was a common practice, particularly in upper class society and the marriage probably took place when Dante was about twenty years old.

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Voodoo II

Lead: Faced with intense opposition in the French ruling class, the African slaves of Saint-Domingue, now Haiti, took their traditional Vodou religion underground by combining it with Roman Catholicism.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Vodou originated in Western Africa. The word in the indigenous Fon language of Dahomey, now Benin, means “spirit” or “deity.” Each human is a spirit of the perceptible world and after death crosses over into the invisible realm which also is inhabited by spirits, ancestors those who are recently deceased and angels. Vodou (anglicized as voodoo), as it evolved in the Western hemisphere, gradually adopted many of the characteristics of Roman Catholicism, the most important being its acceptance of the Christian God as the deity. He created the spirits of the universe, the lwa, visible and invisible, to help Him keep humanity under control and give order to the world.

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Voodoo I

Lead: Originating in the ancient indigenous cultures of Africa and merged with many characteristics of Roman Catholicism in the early years of slavery, Vodou is practiced by many in Haiti and in the Haitian diaspora.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: One of the first places Christopher Columbus landed in the New World was the island he called Hispaniola. He enslaved the native Arawak population and set them to looking for gold, but the gold did not materialize, and the indigenous people soon died off due to disease and overwork. The island had potential, however, and after 1697 when Spain surrendered the western third to France in the Treaty of Rijswijk, the population and wealth of the colony began to expand. The newly designated Saint-Domingue became France’s richest outpost in the New World, shipping huge quantities of coffee, indigo, cotton and especially sugar. To work the plantations of the island, France imported thousands of slaves from west Africa, particularly Dahomey, now Benin, Togo and Ghana. By 1800 there were almost 600,000 slaves in Saint-Domingue.

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Anne Frank IV

Lead: Just hours after Anne Frank and her family were discovered in their hiding place, the “secret annex,” and arrested by the Gestapo, two of the family’s helpers recued Anne’s diary.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After being betrayed to the Nazis and their Dutch collaborators by an informer whose identity is still unknown, Anne Frank, her family and four others in hiding with them were eventually deported to concentration camps where they all perished except for Anne’s father Otto Frank, who survived Auschwitz.