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.
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
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.
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 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.
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.