Zulu warrior is really all sweetness and light

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The Independent Online
Good news for South Africa: Mangosuthu Buthelezi says he's not as unstable as some people think he is. "Believe it or not I am not as mad as I am alleged to be," the leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party wrote to Leadership magazine, which published an article asking: "What is one to make of this man, who can be so courteous and yet is so reviled by his enemies?"

"People call him mad ... they say he has a sugar deficiency which unbalances him, that he is violent, a tyrant, a warmonger."

Not so, says the Zulu chief. "It is sheer poppycock to say I have a sugar deficiency which unbalances me.'' He concedes a sugar deficiency runs in the Zulu royal house, but insists he has always been mild and stable. Sweet, even?

The first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, didn't have a sugar deficiency either. His behaviour following his Earth orbiting in April 1961 is attributed to his inability to cope with fame and his refuge in alcohol, Moskovsky Komsomolets reports. The Russian paper made the claim in an article that included extracts from the diaries of Nikolai Kamanin, who was in charge of training the first Soviet cosmonauts. Rumours about Gagarin's excesses circulated for decades before his death in a 1968 plane crash.

One night, Mr Kamanin wrote, Gagarin had tried to seduce a maid in a hotel bedroom. When his wife banged on the door, the cosmonaut leapt off the second-floor balcony and smashed his face on the concrete floor below, necessitating reconstructive surgery.

ooo

The family of Taslima Nasrin says reports that she has married another exiled Bangladeshi writer, Daud Haider, are untrue. And Mr Haider used curiously similar language to deny any relationship with Ms Nasrin. Both sides branded the reports "baseless'' and said they were designed to "tarnish'' the writers' names.

The tarnished twosome say they don't even know each other - and for good measure, Mr Haider volunteered that he does not even like Ms Nasrin's writings.

Maryann Bird

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