South Africa's Soweto area, once epicenter of resistance to apartheid, convulsed by looting

January 31, 2015 2:00 PM

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JOHANNESBURG – South African youths recently swept through an intersection in the heart of Soweto township, breaking into immigrant-owned shops and grabbing whatever they could — soda, a loaf of bread, sometimes even the shelves. Nearly 40 years ago, at the same intersection, young blacks marched to protest the white racist rulers of the time, drawing a bloody crackdown that shocked the world.

The recent looting and unrest that hit Soweto and other areas around Johannesburg was not as bloody as the anti-apartheid demonstrations and the ensuing bloodshed in 1976. But it alarmed a nation built on the ideals of racial reconciliation and underscored that, two decades after apartheid was repla...

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