NAMES IN THE NEWS : S. African Decries ‘Salesmen’

<i> From Times Staff and Wire Service Reports </i>

South African journalist Donald Woods says the United States suffers from a “cult of conservative selfishness” that propels “salesmen” into public office.

Woods, who wrote the biography of anti-apartheid activist Steven Biko, gave the keynote address Saturday on the Boston campus of the University of Massachusetts.

Woods, who lived in exile for 12 years, said American economic sanctions against his homeland contributed in part to Nelson R. Mandela’s release.

“I have always had faith that once the mass of Americans know the facts, they end up doing the right thing,” said Woods, who received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.


He railed against the “cult of conservative selfishness” in America, which he said propelled to office people who promise short-term gains, “salesmen instead of statesmen.”