Madiba-Nelson Mandela’s Homegoing

Many thanks to my fellow 3CHICS bloggers as well as the folks at The Obama Diary, for their in-depth coverage since the passing of Nelson Mandela.

Speakers Named For Nelson Mandela Ceremony
Dec 9, 2013
By Associated Press

South Africa says United States President Barack Obama and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be among world leaders speaking at a mass memorial service for Nelson Mandela.

South Africa’s government released the list of speakers for the Tuesday memorial, expected to last four hours at stadium at Soweto Township near Johannesburg.

Beyond Obama and Ban, the government says the following leaders will speak:

– Brazil President Dilma Rousseff;

– Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao;

– Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba;

– Indian President Pranab Mukherjee; and

– Cuban President Raul Castro.

South African President Jacob Zuma will give the keynote address.

Mandela’s family and friends also will speak at the ceremony, which will include a sermon.

Mandela New Yorker

Nelson Mandela obituary part one: one of the most inspiring figures of the 20th century
Former President of South Africa, who guided the country from apartheid to democracy during a life filled with hardship and struggle

Nelson Mandela, who has died aged 95, was the architect of South Africa’s transformation from racial despotism to liberal democracy, saving his country from civil war and becoming its first black president.

This singular triumph crowned a tempestuous life, filled with hardship and struggle. Mandela spent 27 years behind bars, and more than a decade before that as a hardened enemy of the white supremacist regime, serving variously as street activist, guerrilla leader and township lawyer

Guardian front cover of Nelson Mandela's death 5th December 2013

As such, he was the one man with the credibility to secure the political settlement that toppled apartheid and allowed the birth of a democratic South Africa in 1994. Not even the fiercest black radical could question Mandela’s devotion to the struggle and, by the same token, no white South African could doubt the sincerity of his remarkable gestures of reconciliation.

mandela lawyer

When the critical period came after his release from prison in 1990, Mandela seemed to take on a Churchillian mantle. His entire life up to that moment was but a preparation for the supreme task of delivering South Africa peacefully to democracy and avoiding the calamity of a race war. Like Britain’s wartime leader, Mandela appeared as a man of destiny who saved his country at the hour of its greatest peril.

“If this man wasn’t there,” Archbishop Desmond Tutu observed, “the whole country would have gone up in flames.”

And so, on May 10 1994, Mandela took the oath as South Africa’s first freely elected president. The generals and police commanders who led the security forces, all of them apartheid-era placemen, saluted their new leader and declared their loyalty – for the most part, with genuine sincerity. His predecessor, FW de Klerk, moved down to become second deputy president. And Mandela declared in ringing tones: “Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another.”

For decades the apartheid regime had represented him as a dangerous “communist terrorist”. In fact, he was an Anglophile lawyer, filled with reverence for democratic institutions, particularly those shaped in Britain. In the 1950s, he was indeed a young radical, who came to favour an “armed struggle” and may once have been a secret member of the banned Communist party. The young Mandela was arrogant, stubborn, feckless and combative in equal measure.

But his 27 years behind bars changed him deeply. He came to see that apartheid reflected the deeply ingrained fears of South Africa’s white minority, who believed that black rule would inevitably entail their dispossession, expulsion, or – at worst – massacre. In the isolation of his prison cell, surrounded by Afrikaner warders whom he always treated as equals, Mandela realised that reassurance and reconciliation was the way to kill off apartheid.


Actress Lenora Crichlow sets off to discover the story of how Nelson Mandela brought peace to his country and what he means to people there today. She uncovers a more complex and fascinating picture of Mandela and his country than she ever imagined, discovering a vibrant Rainbow Nation but also learning more about the horrors of apartheid and the extent of poverty and violence. On her journey she unlocks the secrets of who Mandela really is and why his achievements are so special and so admired.

Nelson Mandela obituary part two: stirring up trouble
Son of a chief of the Thembu clan of the Xhosa people, young Rolihlahla Mandela attends a local Methodist mission school. Here a British teacher, finding his name difficult to pronounce, christens him ‘Nelson’ after the admiral

Rolihlahla (the name means “stirring up trouble”) Mandela was born on July 18 1918 at Mvezo, a village on the banks of the Mbashe River in the district of Umtata, the capital of the Transkei. His father was a chief of the Thembu clan of the Xhosa people and a descendant of King Ngubengcuka, who had ruled over all the Thembus early in the 19th century.

mandela young

Mandela was one of about 12 children from four wives. His mother, Nosekeni Fanny, was wife number three and Mandela’s first years were spent with his three sisters in his mother’s kraal. Although Nosekeni Fanny could claim a prouder pedigree than her husband — she belonged to the senior branch of King Ngubengcuka’s descendants — the family led a simple life, without a stick of furniture. For the rest of his life, Mandela clung to a romantic vision of a golden age before the arrival of the white man, when “the land belonged to the whole tribe and there was no individual ownership whatever. There were no classes, no rich or poor, and no exploitation of man by man.” Like President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, he believed that “class is alien to Africa, socialism and democracy indigenous”.

When Mandela was about nine, his father died. This might have meant the end of his education, for his mother could neither read nor write, and lacked the means to send her son to school. But the Thembu paramount chief, Dalindyebo Jongintaba, invited the boy to live with his family, and sent him to Healdtown, a Methodist mission school.

It was there that a British teacher – one Mr Wellington – decided that “Rolihlahla” was too difficult to pronounce and awarded Mandela the name “Nelson”, after the admiral. His early life was strangely divided: at school he learnt ballroom dancing and was steeped in English literature and British history, courtesy of Mr Wellington. At home, he endured a traditional circumcision ceremony.


Though the Methodism failed to stick — despite his mother’s devout Christianity, Mandela had little time for religion — he proved a diligent and competent pupil, and gained entrance to Fort Hare, the only university for blacks in South Africa.

There, his rebellious streak showed for the first time. In 1940 he led a boycott of lectures in protest against the autocratic university administration, and was rusticated.

Chief Jongintaba demanded that he should apologise and return to Fort Hare, but Mandela was unrepentant. With one of the chief’s sons, he stole a cow from his benefactor and used the proceeds to make a dash for Johannesburg. Apart from other considerations, he was anxious to escape from the marriage which Chief Jongintaba had arranged for him.

Mandela found a job as a nightwatchman in Crown Mines, outside Johannesburg, only to be sacked when his boss discovered that he had run away from home. In the event Mandela succeeded in convincing his guardian that he should continue his studies in Johannesburg and become a lawyer. Like many a rural romantic, he preferred to live in the city.

Mandela’s natural distinction prevented him from being overwhelmed by the squalor and hopelessness of Alexandra, the black township of Johannesburg where he lived. Years later in prison he berated himself for his youthful failure to appreciate the kindnesses that he had received.

In 1941 he became friends with Walter Sisulu, the future secretary-general of the ANC who would one day share his imprisonment. Sisulu arranged for him to work as a clerk for a firm of white lawyers, in particular an attorney named Lazer Sidelsky, who treated him almost as a younger brother.

Mandela New Yorker

At the same time Mandela followed a correspondence course at Witwatersrand University, achieving his BA degree in 1942. His political ideas developed from his association with educated African professionals, who, whether Christian or Marxist, shared the dream of African nationalism. In the real world, by contrast, Mandela saw an Indian with whom he had been travelling prosecuted for bringing “a Kaffir” on to the bus.

Mandela and Sisulu were natural recruits to the African National Congress (ANC), the only vehicle for black dissent. Impatient with the moderation and gradualism of its elderly leadership, they formed the Youth League, which came to dominate the ANC. Mandela was on the committee of the Youth League from its inception, and became its leader in 1947.

But he was not exclusively involved in politics and law. He was keenly interested in boxing. He loved the cinema, good restaurants and exotic food. Most of all, he loved smart clothes, dressing snappily and prizing his many suits. And he had many girlfriends. At some point in the early 1940s, Sisulu introduced him to his quiet, pretty cousin Evelyn Mase. She was three years younger than Mandela and training as a nurse at the non-European Hospital at Hillbrow in northern Johannesburg.

Evelyn was not interested in politics, but she had no doubts about Mandela. “He was handsome and charming and he made me laugh,” she remembered. “I thought he was beautiful.” Mandela seemed equally struck, and in 1944 they were married in a register office, despite Evelyn’s devout Anglican background. She had not yet been introduced to any of Mandela’s family. They moved into a two-roomed matchbox house in the Orlando area of Soweto, with no ceiling and no plaster on the walls. Thembi, the Mandelas’ first child, was born in 1945. Two years later they found slightly better lodging, but this did not prevent their next child, Makaziwe, a daughter, dying of meningitis at nine months.

nelson and winnie
Nelson and Winnie

nelson mandela-100

Nelson Mandela obituary part three: domestic and political strife

Nelson Mandela obituary part four: a marked man

Mandela obituary part five: imprisoned on Robben Island

Nelson Mandela- Photographs by David Turnley
First meal after his release from prison.

Nelson Mandela obituary part six: guiding South Africa from apartheid to democracy

after his release

Nelson Mandela obituary part seven: truth and reconciliation

with bishop tutu
With Bishop Tutu

Nelson Mandela the orator: his most powerful speeches

Nelson Mandela | 1993
Winning the Nobel Prize

at his inauguration
At his inauguration as the first Black President of South Africa

Watch Live: Here and Here

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164 Responses to Madiba-Nelson Mandela’s Homegoing

  1. rikyrah says:

    EPIC Side Eye, people

    side eye -1

  2. rikyrah says:

    Nerdy Wonka @NerdyWonka
    POTUS: “The world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us. His struggle was your struggle. His triumph was your triumph”

    5:34 AM – 10 Dec 2013

    Nerdy Wonka @NerdyWonka
    POTUS: “Madiba would emerge as the last great liberator of the 20th century” #MandelaMemorial

    5:34 AM – 10 Dec 2013

    Nerdy Wonka @NerdyWonka
    POTUS on Madiba: “He would, like Abraham Lincoln hold his country together when it threatened to break apart” #MandelaMemorial

    5:35 AM – 10 Dec 2013

    Nerdy Wonka @NerdyWonka
    POTUS quotes Mandela: “I am not a saint he said, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.” #MandelaMemorial

    5:38 AM – 10 Dec 2013

    Nerdy Wonka @NerdyWonka
    President Obama on Mandela: “He was not a bust made of marble. He was a man made of flesh and blood.” #MandelaMemorial

    5:39 AM – 10 Dec 2013

  3. rikyrah says:

    Obama honors Mandela legacy in Johannesburg
    12/10/13 08:42 AM
    By Steve Benen

    President Obama addressed a massive South African crowd today at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, and if you missed his remarks, they’re worth your time. (For those who can’t watch clips online, the White House has already posted a transcript.)

    The oratory on Madiba’s life and legacy was stirring, but perhaps the most salient rhetoric came when Obama looked ahead.

    “The struggles that follow the victory of formal equality or universal franchise may not be as filled with drama and moral clarity as those that came before, but they are no less important. For around the world today, we still see children suffering from hunger and disease. We still see run-down schools. We still see young people without prospects for the future. Around the world today, men and women are still imprisoned for their political beliefs, and are still persecuted for what they look like, and how they worship, and who they love. That is happening today.

    “And so we, too, must act on behalf of justice. We, too, must act on behalf of peace. There are too many people who happily embrace Madiba’s legacy of racial reconciliation, but passionately resist even modest reforms that would challenge chronic poverty and growing inequality. There are too many leaders who claim solidarity with Madiba’s struggle for freedom, but do not tolerate dissent from their own people. And there are too many of us on the sidelines, comfortable in complacency or cynicism when our voices must be heard.”

    It was pointed precisely because it applied to some of the very leaders who traveled to South Africa for the event and heard the rhetoric from the stage.

  4. rikyrah says:

    potus and graca machel
    President Barack Obama pays his respect to former South African President Nelson Mandela’s widow Graca Machel

  5. rikyrah says:

    Just wanted to thank everyone here at 3CHICS for being here today to celebrate Madiba’s life.

  6. Yahtc says:

    Archbishop Desmond Tutu

  7. rikyrah says:

    T.J. Holmes ‏@tjholmes6m
    Castro: Cuba was “born in the struggle for independence .. (our) children have African blood in their veins.” #MandelaMemorial

  8. Yahtc says:


  9. Yahtc says:

    Bishop Abrahams giving sermon now.

    • Yahtc says:

      For everything there is a season verses from Bible.

    • Yahtc says:

      Bishop Abrahams comments:

      He is a man who inspired and a man who inspires.

      You gave us a prophet, a chromatic transformational leader, a friend to all and an enemy to none, who proclaimed a different world is possible, he will stand out a light.

      It is love for Madiba that has made us come here.

      People like Madiba never die….they live in the hearts of people

  10. President Obama’s swagger is on 100!

    Presidential swagger

  11. Yahtc says:

  12. President Obama Speech Nelson Mandela Memorial

  13. PBO- “While I will always fall short of Madiba’s example,he makes me want to be a better man”

    Barack Obama - While I will always fall short of Madiba's example,he makes me want to be a better man

  14. Potus RAISED the roof! ‘Ubuntu’!


  16. Speak Potus!

  17. Crowd goes absolutely wild when they see Potus.

  18. John King saying Potus will get criticism for shaking hands with Raul Castro. No one has hate in their heart except republicans. Pound sand!

  19. Kirk Franklin in South Africa!

  20. rikyrah says:

    Is that Kirk Franklin?

    • Yahtc says:

      We mourn, but we rejoice that we and the world were blessed by Mandela who truly made the world a better place. May we honor him by keeping his teachings and guidance close to our hearts.

  21. rikyrah says:

    The roots of Mandela’s service
    Temba Maqubela is headmaster at Groton School in Groton, Massachusetts. He fought against apartheid, escaped persecution, and, in 1986, came to the United States as a political refugee.
    By Temba Maqubela,

    No one should have doubted that, in the end, Nelson Mandela would be buried in his village, not in a grand public setting in Johannesburg. For it was Qunu that made Mandela a leader.

    I grew up 13 miles from Qunu. In that village, like my own, neighbors nurtured the children who showed promise, celebrating their successes, collecting provisions when they were able to continue their education in boarding school or, more rarely, in college…

    To really know Mandela, it helps to understand the concept of ubuntu. The Xhosa word is difficult to define, but it refers to the interconnectivity of one to another. In a Xhosa village like Mandela’s, when someone asks, “How are you?” the answer is not “I am fine.” It is, “We are fine.”…

    In Qunu, Mandela lived a life of relative privilege, but in the village culture, that called for an extra dose of humility. His uncle was the acting king of the Thembus, part of the Xhosa people, and young Mandela was present during the many meetings in his village, where he would hear the egalitarian aspirations of elders, absorbing their dreams and frustrations. Mandela also herded cattle, as I and any boy growing up far from the townships did. Humility defined him.

    Yet, when Mandela was 33 and heading the Youth League of the African National Congress, he announced publicly during protests on Jan Van Riebeeck Day, a holiday celebrating the whites’ arrival in South Africa, that he would someday become the first president of a liberated South Africa. Were these the words of a humble man? Yes—but also the words of a man who realized black South Africa needed energy, and, despite the callous and brutal killings, hope. Those who were fighting against apartheid had, up to that moment, been focused on equal rights. They had not considered for a moment that the highest office in the country could belong to a black…

    • Yahtc says:

      Love this quote from above article:

      To really know Mandela, it helps to understand the concept of ubuntu. The Xhosa word is difficult to define, but it refers to the interconnectivity of one to another. In a Xhosa village like Mandela’s, when someone asks, “How are you?” the answer is not “I am fine.” It is, “We are fine.”…

  22. rikyrah says:

    Nelson Mandela at his trial:

    “During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

  23. Yahtc says:

    Dr. Zuma, first woman AU director

  24. rikyrah says:


  25. rikyrah says:

    mandela programme

  26. Yahtc says:

    We are watching what I imagine will be considered THE most historic event of the 21st century!

    • Ametia says:

      I’d say second. PBO’s election and inauguration is the most historic event of the 21st century. Just my opinion.

      • Yahtc says:

        Oh thanks for reminding me that PBO’s election and inauguration is also in the 21st century. I could not contain my joy and excitement that night!

        I agree with you, Ametia.

        And, PBO’s speech today was absolutely fantastic and the love and applause he received today says it all!

      • Yahtc says:

        And, yet let’s not forget that Mandela went through the suffering and imprisonment of a freedom fighter like ours PLUS was elected the first Black president of South Africa!
        He was a giant!

  27. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Ladies.

    Bless you for being up so early.

    This is a wonderful homegoing for Madiba.

  28. Crowd sees President Obama and cheering wildly!

  29. Nelson Mandela’s grandchildren are now speaking.

  30. Yahtc says:

    Over 91 countries have sent delegations

  31. I have to turn @CNN off. They’re disgusting. For crying out loud..We want to hear the service.

  32. Desmond Tutu and Kofi Annan

    Desmond Tutu and Kofi Annan

  33. Yahtc says:

    DA DA Madiba singing

  34. Graca Machel

    Graca Machel

  35. President Obama’s motorcade making its way to the FNB stadium.

  36. President Zuma arrives…

  37. Rikyrah– hats off to you for the thread. You rocked it as always. Big up, Chica!

  38. Yahtc says:

    Torrents of rain and wind

  39. Yahtc says:

    Graca Machel arrives and kisses and embraces Winnie and her daughter

  40. Winnie and Graça embrace each other. **tears**

    Winnie Mandela embracing Graca Machel.

  41. Here comes Winnie Mandela and the crowd goes wild…

  42. Thabo Mbeki arrived in the stadium and the crowd went wild cheering!

  43. People sing and dance as they arrive at Nelson Mandela Memorial Service

    People sing and dance as they arrive at Nelson Mandela's memorial

  44. 20,000 people are in the stadium and the people are celebrating. *goosebumps*

  45. Here comes the Band…

  46. President Obama has arrived for Mandela’s memorial service. 👏👏👏

    President Obama arrives for Mandela's memorial service

  47. Crowds singing at Mandela Memorial

  48. Good morning, everyone!

    A day of celebrating Madiba’s life! I salute you, Nelson Mandela!

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