SOUTHAMPTON VS ARSENALSOUTHAMPTON (4-2-3-1)GAZZANIGA, SOARES, FONTE, VAN DIJK, BERTRAND, WANYAMA, CLASIE, S. DAVIS, MANE, TADIC, PELLEARSENAL (4-2-3-1)GIROUD, CAMPBELL, OZIL, WALCOTT, FLAMINI, RAMSEY, MONREAL, MERTESACKER, KOSCIELNY, BELLERIN, CECHArsenal go into the Christmas period in second place and just two points behind Barclays Premier League leaders Leicester City. Interestingly, Arsenal have gone into the Christmas period in second place twice – and on both occasions they went on to win the title.They should travel with confidence; the Gunners have more wins away than at home (six to five at the Emirates) and have also scored five more goals on the road (18 to 13 at home).And Southampton have failed to win in their last five games in the Premier League, dropping from seventh to 12th in the process. It is the Saints’ longest run without a win for a year; a sixth would represent their longest non-winning sequence under manager Ronald Koeman and their worst since December 2013.They have a good record on Boxing Day, winning five and losing one of the last six. They last lost on this day in 2008, at Plymouth Argyle in a second-tier game.But Arsenal’s record on Boxing Day is even better. Since they last lost on this day, at Coventry City in 1999, the Gunners have played 14 times, winning 11 and drawing three.But three of the last four Premier League games between these teams at St Mary’s have been drawn while Arsenal last won at Southampton in December 2003.Southampton test goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, with Paulo Gazzaniga on stand-by to continue at the back. Another keeper, Fraser Forster, is still out, as is Florin Gardos and Jay Rodriguez.Arsenal miss Alexis Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla, Danny Welbeck and Francis Coquelin among others.
NEW YORK (AP) : Carmelo Anthony had 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah delivered big games against their former team, and the New York Knicks beat the short-handed Chicago Bulls 104-89 on Thursday night. Rose scored 17 points in his return to Madison Square Garden after skipping the last game here, and Noah finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds as the Knicks snapped a three-game losing streak. Rookie forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas had a season-high 19 points. The Knicks bounced back from a loss at the buzzer in Philadelphia on Wednesday to win for the first time this season on the second night of back-to-back games. Dwyane Wade scored 22 for the Bulls, who were missing star swingman Jimmy Butler, Nikola Mirotic and Denzel Valentine, all because of illness. They dropped their third straight. Playing without starting forward Kristaps Porzingis, New York won for just the second time in 11 games. Other results: Mavericks 113, Suns 108; Nuggets 140 Pacers 112; Spurs 134 Lakers 94; Pelicans 104, Nets 95.
The World Food Program (WFP), in flagrant (barefaced, unashamed) disregard for struggling Liberian businesses, recently awarded to a Guinean trucking firm a multimillion dollar contract for transport services to the WFP’s Ebola response to Liberia.How is that possible? Does WFP or anyone else think that the Guinean government and people, more particularly Guinean businesspeople, would ever allow such a thing to happen in Guinea? Definitely not! The Guineans most certainly know better. Though they are predominantly Muslim, they know fully well the Christian dictum that “Charity begins at home.”The big trouble is, NOT IN LIBERIA!Liberia is a friendly country, most probably the most friendly in Africa. For which other African country so openly and so wholeheartedly welcomes foreigners and are prepared to give them every opportunity to do business and make tons of money here, while Liberians continue to live in abject poverty?This newspaper has always advocated, argued for, pleaded with the Liberian government, to do everything in its power, as a deliberate policy, to encourage and foster the development of a middle class. Daily Observer publisher Kenneth Y. Best, as a young Assistant Minister at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICAT) in 1972, started urging the Liberian leaders to begin the process of developing a Liberian merchant class. His point was that it was the quickest way to lift our people out of poverty, for that is where the money is—in business and commerce. If Liberians controlled their own commerce, they would be in the driver’s seat of their economy.When Kenneth made that 1972 call during a speech at his alma mater, Booker Washington Institute (BWI), no less a person than the eminent former Liberian Secretary of State J. Rudolph Grimes told him, “You know, you are right.”Alas! The government has paid absolutely NO attention to this advice. This advice has over the years been consistently rejected by successive Liberian administrations, including the current one. The Tubman government started by enunciating (pronouncing) the Open Door Policy. This was initially hailed as a great thing because it started attracting foreign investments to the country, But from the very start, it became a totally foreign thing, the first being Lansdell K. Christe’s Liberia Mining Company (LMC) that mined iron ore from Bomi Hills (now Tubmanburg). But 20 years before LMC came Harvey S. Firestone, Jr’s Firestone Rubber Plantations Company (FRPC). That was Liberia’s first major foreign investment. Like Firestone, LMC had no local investment participation. Then came LAMCO in the late 1950s, to mine the iron ore in Mount Nimba, Nimba County; and later Bong Mining Company. All of these were overwhelmingly foreign-owned.The government did nothing to encourage Liberians to undertake ancillary (subsidiary, secondary) businesses, such as food supply, transportation and other logistical services. Even as late as the 2000s, especially with the coming of the current government, major concession agreements have been signed, particularly in the iron ore, oil palm and now the petroleum sectors, with no Liberian participation. The National Oil Company (NOCAL) has auctioned off most of the oil blocks, again with little or no Liberian participation, except a very few that have not been made public. Who knows whether these are not reserved for people close to the powers that be? If not, why are these Liberian owners so secretive? Is that the few remain natural resources should be shared?There is another alarming, deeply distressing reality at play: The government owes the media, most of them tiny business enterprises, well over half a million United States dollars, but has, over several years, consistently REFUSED to pay them. Now the government is DEMANDING that the media houses accept far less than the amount due them! How so fraudulent and unfair, how so shamefully a misuse of power!Worse yet, several Christmases have passed, and this one, too, is about to pass, and GOL has not aroused its conscience — if it has one — to pay the media, so that our wives and children can say “Papa na come home.”So who can blame the WFP for ditching Liberian truckers in favor of Guinean truckers? WFP has learned well the lesson the Liberian government has taught them— “to hell with Liberian businesses. You can come to Liberia and do as you please.”Is this government then serious about poverty reduction, which it has preached, since coming to power?Ellen’s government has only two more years in power. As eternal optimists, we don’t think it is too late for her to make a difference. A good place to start is to PAY THE MEDIA WHAT YOU OWE THEM AND DEMAND THAT THE WFP AGREEMENT BE REVERSED.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
On July 10 the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) began intensifying the withdrawal of mutilated banknotes from the market. This exercise started in separate locations in and around Monrovia including Red Light, Goba Chop (Red Light), Duala, Waterside, Rally Time, Old Road, and ELWA markets respectively.The exercise comes in the wake of public outcry in Liberia about the ugly condition of Liberian banknotes; how they are rejected by sellers because they are very soft, filthy and torn. As rejection of the notes raised more concerns in the public, the CBL went on to print new banknotes with texture said to be more guaranteed than the old ones.However, there are a few things to take into consideration as the CBL carries out its responsibilities, if the exercise would be successful. First and foremost, the CBL has not carried out enough sensitization to create awareness on the collection of mutilated notes and how to even manage them properly. Although CBL claims that a similar exercise is ongoing in other places including Gbarnga, Voinjama and Tubmanburg, the money circulates in the entire country, and if such an exercise is to be carried out, the CBL must use community radio stations and other media outlets to create awareness so that Liberians and other users will know when and where to carry their mutilated banknotes. It may be a global policy that banks do not speak too much to the media about their activities; nevertheless, there are equally some pieces of public information CBL needs to disseminate, and one of them is the exercise it has begun without much sensitization. Furthermore, these places of operation outside of Monrovia are not just enough for the exercise. What about Buchanan, Ganta, Greenville and Harper, all major points of entry in the country?While we do not want to question the durability of the newly printed notes, it is also being noted that many users of the Liberian currency handle them without much care as compared to the US dollar and other foreign currencies. The Liberian banknotes are carelessly handled by marketers, individuals, drivers and traffic police officers, and this grossly contributes to their mutilation. Without public information about how the money should be handled, it is likely that the newly printed notes will face the same condition in record time.Since the circulation of the newly printed notes was first announced last year, the public is yet to feel its full impact. Whenever people go to commercial banks, the same old filthy and mutilated notes are given out to people thus increasing their spread. At a point in time, Central Bank Governor Milton Weeks stated that the continuous circulation of mutilated banknotes is caused by commercial banks that do not want to release the newly printed notes to customers. This statement then raises the question: What is the role of the Central Bank of Liberia in regulating commercial banks in the country? According to CBL communications director Cyrus Wleh Badio, the CBL has the legal authority to institute any punitive measure, including but not limited to fines, if a commercial bank is found to be in violation of CBL regulations. Mr. Badio said in an effort to have the newly printed notes in circulation, the Governor has sent the “Clean Notes Directives” to commercial banks for full compliance. With this mandate in place and commercial banks being aware of CBL’s role in their regulation, people wonder why these commercial banks will stubbornly refuse to abide by the CBL directive. Is it that CBL fears taking action against commercial banks in violation of this mandate? In fact, most of these commercial banks are reportedly poor in customer service ranging from giving out batches of decayed, mutilated $5 notes and the consistent and persistent “breakdown” of their systems that frustrates customers. Is the CBL monitoring the activities of these banks?Another issue of concern to the public is the skyrocketing exchange rate between the US dollar and the Liberian dollar. When the exchange rate exceeded L$120 for US$1 in recent days, CBL came out to lower it to L$110.If this was done to help the situation, the problem would have been resolved long ago because similar actions were taken in the past. Though we are not experts in economics, there is a theory that says “The more the goods/supply on the market, the less the value.” We believe that unrestricted printing and circulation of more Liberian dollars on the market with fewer amounts of US dollars is one contributing factor to the skyrocketing rate, coupled with government’s demand for the US dollar, for which taxpayers are compelled to pay in US dollar.The Central Bank can promptly deal with the unfolding financial crisis facing the country, if it is realistic to take tangible steps in creating awareness about proper handling of the money, expanding the ongoing exercise to collect the mutilated notes, closely supervise commercial banks to ensure their compliance with its rules and regulations, and studying the economy to come out with ideas that will enhance proper circulation of the Liberian currency.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
GECOM chairmanshipAs the back and forth continues on the nominations for Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) chairmanship, President David Granger has pledged to put an end to the breach of the Constitution, which saw persons without the qualifications of a Judge being appointed to the position.Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, the Head of State pointed out that regardless of what obtained in the past, as current President of Guyana, it is his responsibility to ensure that the provisions of the Constitution will be followed.He was at the time responding to Guyana Times when asked about his acceptance of a nomination for the GECOM chairmanship in 2000 by then Opposition Leader Hugh Desmond Hoyte without having the necessary qualifications of a Judge as required under the Constitution.“My understanding is that at all material times, a member of the legal profession or several members of the legal profession were on the list but my acceptance of the nomination or my name being on the list does not necessarily mean that I must accept the six names which are submitted. So it doesn’t follow the law of what you would call the ‘non sequitur’ (a conclusion or statement that does not logically follow from the previous argument or statement). The point is, even if the Constitution had been breached or if a nomination had been made in breach of the Constitution 10 or 20 years ago, there is no need to repeat it. That is not a precedent, I don’t accept that. I’m accepting now, as President, that the Constitution provisions must be applied,” the President stated.Following the receipt of a letter from Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo seeking clarification on his interpretation of the Constitution’s requirements for the nominees of GECOM chairmanship, President Granger said he has already responded to the Opposition Leader and will continue to engage him on the matter.The Head of State further posited that the issue is now being looked at within a legal framework, not within the framework of politics or personalities.“This is a constitutional matter and I’ve cited the Constitution to (Jagdeo). I’m not playing politics, I’m serious about the appointment of Chairman of GECOM and the Constitution is very clear. Mr Jagdeo did write to me and he asked for some clarification,” the Head of State said.He added, “Well as I said, it has now gone into the legal zone and we are going to ensure that he gets the legal clarification that he needs but in terms of names, I’m not in the business of naming names at this stage. I’m in the business of satisfying the constitutional requirement for the appointment so that is as much as I can say at this stage. The law will prevail and we will continue to engage the Leader of the Opposition as required under the Constitution. So I’ve not disengaged (him), I’ve examined his letter and a response will be sent.”In response to the President’s rejection of his first list of nominees and his consequent request for a second one, Jagdeo on Tuesday wrote the Head of State requesting an urgent meeting while asking that he elucidate his interpretation of Article 161 of the Constitution of Guyana, which deals with the requirements of the nominees to be submitted by the Opposition Leader.The six nominees submitted by the Opposition Leader in December last year were retired Major General Norman McLean; Attorney and Political Analyst, Christopher Ram; former Chairman of the Private Sector Commission, Ramesh Dookhoo; Peace and Governance Consultant, Lawrence Lachmansingh; businesswoman, Rhyaan Shah; and Professor James Rose, none of whom President Granger noted has the qualifications of a Judge as required by the law.The Head of State had outlined that the Constitution requires only persons who are Judges, qualified to be Judges, or former Judges of either a court having unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters or a court having jurisdiction in appeals from any such court.However, Jagdeo pointed out that his interpretation of the Constitution is that the requirements go beyond the qualifications of a Judge.“I am obliged to inform Your Excellency that my interpretation of Article 161(2) is different, in so far as, it also provides for, in addition to the category of persons to whom you have referred, “or any other fit and proper person,” Jagdeo penned in his January 10, 2017 letter to the President.An extract of Article 161 reads, “Subject to the provision of paragraph (4), the Chairman of the Elections Commission shall be a person who holds or who has held office as a Judge of a court having unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters in some part of the Commonwealth or a court having jurisdiction in appeals from any such court or who is qualified to be appointed as any such Judge, or any other fit and proper person, to be appointed by the President from a list of six persons, not unacceptable to the President, submitted by the Leader of the Opposition after meaningful consultation with the non-governmental political parties represented in the National Assembly”.
..residents stranded, roads under waterThe community of Mahdia, in Region Eight (Potaro–Siparuni), having beenRegional Executive Officer Gavin Goungasubjected to continuous heavy rainfall overnight on Thursday, woke up on Friday to find that the Madhia Creek had overflowed its banks and snaked its way through the community, completely submerging the roadways and partly submerging yards.More than 400 homes have been affected, and road access to the airstrip hasbeen completely cut off. No major damage has hitherto been reported in the community, but the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) and the Region 8 Administration are closely monitoring the situation.Acting Regional Executive Officer (REO) Gavin Gounga has said the water is receding andA house under waterresidents can expect relief within a short period. “It is just a roadway, and part of the roadway in (the) low-lying area that was covered. There is no rain, so the water is receding,” he said.“I was informed by the residents that it poured heavily during the night, and that is the reason for the flooding. But we are monitoring the situation, and at this time we are not really (alarmed), because the rain has stopped and the water is running off fast,” he added.Gounga said floods of this magnitude are expected whenever it rains heavily during the May-June rainy season. As a result, the Region 8 Administration could only keep close watch and advise residents to take precautions if the rain persists.However, residents told this newspaper that this has been the worst flooding theyThe street completely under waterhave experienced in more than 20 years.State Minister Joseph Harmon, at his weekly post-cabinet press briefing, explained that the Government and the CDC are monitoring the situation in Region Eight, and would provide assistance if required.“Flooding at Mahdia, we are looking at that situation; and as you know, we have a National Watch on Weather and all Emergencies, (which) is being done through the Civil Defence Commission, and they will give me a situation report and their reaction to it,” Harmon informed.“Mahdia, we will see what information comes. The Civil Defence Commission has propositioned supplies to some of these areas; Mahdia being one, Orinduik being one. And so…anything that occurs in those areas which requires heavy lifting….there is what we call ‘pre-dumping or a forward logistics base establishedThanks to elevation, this house was savedin these areas’, where initial response can occur,” he added.Last month, several villages in Regions Seven and Eight were washed away by severe flooding. Water had been recorded at twenty feet high in some areas, but, fortunately, no life was lost. Villagers are still battling to rebuild lost infrastructure, and require immense support to bring their lives back to some normalcy. The CDC and other stakeholders are working to assist those communities.
Last week, the House approved some relief for homeowners, changing tax law so that debt forgiven to those unable to repay a mortgage would no longer be treated as taxable income.Meanwhile, Democrats are pressing President Bush to appoint a special adviser to coordinate a federal response to the crisis.Sanchez’s bill — supported by Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, and George Miller, D-Martinez — would revise the bankruptcy law to help homeowners facing foreclosure by repealing a provision that forbids judges from modifying a home mortgage.Calling the proposal “a measured response to the mortgage crisis,” Sanchez said current law — which allows judges to restructure loans for a vacation home or an investment property but not a primary residence — is “fundamentally unfair.”She said her measure could save up to 600,000 homeowners from foreclosure.While the bill passed a subcommittee on a 5-4 party-line vote, the mortgage industry has vowed to continue fighting it.That’s because industry officials maintain that letting judges rewrite loan terms would destabilize mortgage-backed securities, dry up capital and push up interest rates.“We want to help you, but I do not want to help you to hurt you,” Utah Republican Rep. Chris Cannon said in opposing the measure.Cannon said the measure would hurt would-be homeowners’ ability to buy property in the future — and may even trigger a recession.He called it an “overreaction” to the crisis, adding, “Who stands to benefit from this law? Bankruptcy lawyers.”Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Sherman Oaks, who is on the House Financial Services Committee, said he is still studying the legislation, but cautioned that Congress can’t turn home mortgages into unsecured loans.“Lenders have got to be pushed to work with the borrower,” he said.He also pushed for Senate passage of a measure the House approved earlier this year that raises the limit on the size of loans that Fannie May and Freddie Mac can buy in high-cost areas like the San Fernando Valley.The current limit is $417,000 — too low to help valley residents trying to refinance or sell in order to avoid foreclosure, he said.In the meantime Sherman, Sanchez and others are calling for an end to “teaser rates” to protect against future crises.And Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., is expected to unveil legislation this year addressing broker and lender duties.But government watchdogs noted that both the real estate and mortgage industries are major campaign contributors with friends in both parties.Last year, real estate agents gave members of Congress $33 million — 42 percent to Democrats and 53 percent to the GOP.Mortgage bankers, meanwhile, gave $1.2 million with 41 percent going to Democrats and 58 percent to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.“No matter what area you represent, your constituents own homes, so the industry has an interest in having your ear. They spread their money,” said Massie Rich, spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit watchdog group.But, he noted, those same homeowners stand a strong chance of trumping special interests.“In the end, votes are what get you elected, not money,” he firstname.lastname@example.orgWant local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas CityStill, with the peak problems linked to rising adjustable rates that are expected to move even higher, pressure is mounting on lawmakers and the Bush administration to take quick action.“I hear from families a lot, families that were stretched to get into their first home,” said Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Lakewood, who sponsored last week’s measure. “They’re worried.”Many homeowners facing foreclosure were initially able to take out mortgages with small or nonexistent down payments by obtaining an adjustable rate — sometimes called a “teaser” rate.But the percentage points on those rates are climbing, catching homeowners in the bind of being unable to refinance.As many as 2.5 million adjustable-rate mortgages — worth about $600 billion — are expected to jump from “teaser” rates to higher rates this year and next. As hundreds of thousands of homeowners nationwide face potential foreclosure, a heated battle is brewing in Congress over how to address the sub-prime mortgage meltdown.The mortgage woes are hitting California particularly hard, with 57,875 of the nation’s 243,947 foreclosures being filed in the Golden State, according to the Irvine-based RealtyTrac Inc.Los Angeles County accounted for nearly 12,000 of the month’s foreclosures.But while legislation moved forward last week to allow judges to modify the terms of a home’s first mortgage in a bankruptcy proceeding, it faced fierce objections from Republicans who said it would drive up interest rates.
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsHe also called on cities to do all of the highway work instead of the state. Calderon said the state needs a bullet train. “With a bullet train, you can live in Bakersfield and work in Los Angeles,” he said. “You can live in Santa Barbara and work in Los Angeles. You can live in San Diego and work in Los Angeles.” Guzman had another solution. “We need to look at alternative fuel vehicles that are environmental friendly and affordable,” she said. SANTA FE SPRINGS – Four candidates running to succeed Assemblyman Ron Calderon each proposed ideas to solve the transportation problems at a forum on Friday. About 50 people attended Friday’s forum sponsored by an alliance of five local chambers of commerce at Santa Fe Springs Town Center Hall. Pico Rivera Councilman David Armenta, former state Sen. Charles Calderon of Whittier, Montebello school board member Geri Guzman and Whittier Councilman Owen Newcomer are candidates for the seat now held by Calderon, D-Montebello. “We need to look at taxing the oil and automobile companies to bring back additional revenue to improve our streets and highways,” Armenta said. Newcomer said the answer is to push for more public transit. “We need development along public transportation lines so that it’s convenient to live some place and get to work by rail,” he said. The candidates also discussed health insurance. Everybody should have affordable health insurance, the candidates agreed. But they disagreed on how to get there. Newcomer called for using taxes to subsidize health care for small business employees, but not for large companies. “I think employees of a large corporation ought to have benefits,” he said. “Many of them do. How can we find that dividing line between the large guy who can afford to provide health care and the small guy who can’t?” Guzman called for the state to ensure that all children get health insurance. Armenta said he’s not sure of the answer, but that California should be able to ensure that everyone has health insurance. “We in California as one of the biggest states in the union should strive to be a leader,” Armenta said. “We have the knowledge and money. It’s just a matter of getting together with business and legislators to make things happen.” Calderon called for a tax on adult materials. “We need to get more income,” Calderon said. “If we can put a sin tax on oil, liquor or tobacco we can have a true sin tax on adult materials.” email@example.com (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3022160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
1 The 21-year-old enjoyed a successful loan-spell with Ajax last season Chelsea forward Bertrand Traore has joined Lyon, the two clubs have announced.The Burkina Faso international, 21, has spent recent seasons on loan at Dutch clubs Vitesse Arnhem and Ajax and will now move to France on a contract until 2022.Lyon wrote on Twitter: “It is official: Bertrand Traore is Lyonnais! A transfer for 10m euros (£8.8m) and a five-year contract.”Reports have suggested the fee includes a sell-on clause and other potential add-ons.A press conference staged by Lyon to unveil Traore began in bizarre fashion, with a seat left empty at the table while club president Jean-Michel Aulas and coach Bruno Genesio discussed a range of other matters.Aulas, quoted by L’Equipe, made mention of “technical difficulties” in concluding the transfer and added that Traore “will not be present for the return to training on Tuesday”.But the player was eventually introduced during the press conference and posed for photographs with the club’s shirt.He told OLTV: “I am very happy to be here, to be Lyonnais.“Lyon has always been an impressive club, with big players and a great history. It is an honour for me to play here.“When I came here with Ajax a few months ago, I was attracted by the philosophy of the club, with several young players from the academy, and the magnificent Parc OL.“With Ajax, we had a bit of a similar style of play and that enticed me to come here.“I am coming to bring something extra to OL and I hope to continue progressing and to learn with the coach and my new team-mates.”Traore officially joined Chelsea in 2013, having previously appeared for them as a trialist after emerging from Auxerre’s academy.He never established himself in the first team and, after his recent loan moves, is looking to carve out a long-term role for himself.He said: “I have been looking to have stability and, in signing a contract with OL, I could not ask for more. I have the time to show everyone what I can do.”
4 April 2003“If we as a liberation movement and a nation were to be given the choice of one life story to be told, that story would have to be Walter Sisulu’s. In his life and the work of his life are captured and demonstrated the best, the noblest, the most heroic, the most deeply humane that our movement and our country represent and seek to represent.”So begins former president Nelson Mandela’s foreward to “In Our Lifetime” (David Philip), the biography of Walter and Albertina Sisulu.The book, written by the subjects’ daughter-in-law, Elinor Sisulu, is a fortunate conjunction of first-rate storyteller and fascinating subjects.The story of the Sisulus combines the personal and the political; it reflects the 20th-century history of South Africa, but at the same time it is, as their biographer puts it, “a story of persecution, bitter struggle and painful separation . and also one of patience, hope, enduring love and ultimate triumph”.Walter was a dapper, sophisticated estate agent and Albertina a naive and beautiful young nurse when they met in Johannesburg in the early 1940s. At their wedding in 1944, the chairman of the African National Congress Youth League warned the bride: “You are marrying a man who is already married to the nation.”Their life together was marked by frequent arrests and detentions as Walter Sisulu led campaigns to defy apartheid laws. ANC secretary-general, he had been jailed more than once when he went underground in 1963. Albertina and their eldest son were detained by police frustrated in their attempts to find Walter.He was arrested with other ANC leaders during a raid at Liliesleaf Farm later that year, and given a life sentence for treason, and Albertina was left with five children, plus her late sister’s two children, to rear on her own.Active in ANC Women’s League affairs and, in the 1980s, co-president of the United Democratic Front, she was banned for nearly two decades, and often jailed, and two of her children went into exile. They returned only after liberation movements were unbanned in 1990, several months after Walter Sisulu was released from Robben Island.Those are the bare bones of the story; but in this rich, well-written biography are also reflected the political debates and campaigns that characterised the liberation struggle – recounted by an author who had unprecedented access to letters, reports and other private and political documents.Daughter-in-law, biographerIt took Elinor Sisulu nine years to write a biography of her parents-in-law. Her problem was not resistance from the subjects, or difficulty in digging up information. It was just the opposite: too much information.“I was writing about my family, but I had to write about it in the context of the struggle.” So she over-researched, and over-wrote, “with detail I didn’t need”, she says – and her editor cut out much of it.The biography was her idea, soon after she and her husband, Max Sisulu, left Zimbabwe to live in South Africa. Her academic background is English literature and history, and, she says, “biography marries literature and history”.The Sisulus “had great confidence in me. That’s their success as parents, complete confidence . Walter used to say ‘I have complete confidence you’ll do a good job. I have no doubts.’”There was pressure to be absolutely accurate because, as she says, “you’re going to live with them after that. And so obviously from that point of view you don’t want to upset anyone unnecessarily.”But upsetting people with good reason was a different issue. “The only area where I found a bit of resentment was historical disagreements. All struggle biographies face that”, she says.“If people had a quarrel in the 1940s or ’50s and they patched that up, and you come along as an historian 50 years later and want to write about it, they don’t want you to. They’ve put it in the past. Quarrels especially between comrades – they are like family quarrels; you keep them behind closed doors.”There was a great deal of soul-searching: “There is a trend towards self-censorship. I hesitated a lot.” But in the end, she wrote about the quarrels, simply reporting points of view – largely those of her subjects, but other views as well.“It’s part of a historical process that you have to describe”, she says.Now and again a name is missing, but the rest is there, from anger over Winnie Mandela’s “matches and tyres” speech to debates in prison between Nelson Mandela and Govan Mbeki in this compulsively readable biography.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material