Prayer zone for a better, empowering, inspiring, promoting, prospering, progressing and more successful life through Christ Jesus

Posts tagged ‘Johannesburg’

What Mandela Wrote In His Will…ANC, Staff, Family On High Priority.


Late South African President, Nelson Mandela
By SaharaReporters, New York

Widespread international curiosity about the will of late former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela ended on Monday afternoon, when the document was read to members of the icon’s immediate family and was also made public.

As read by Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, Mandela willed his $4.1 million estate to family members, the ruling African National Congress (ANC), his former staff and a number of local schools.

His third and last wife whom he married on his 80th birthday in 1998, Graca Machel will have half the estate under South African marital law; and although she has yet to make a decision, she is entitled to relinquishing her claims in favour of specified assets, such as properties in Mozambique, her native country. She has 90 days to decide

A part of the estate would be split among The Mandela Trust, The Nelson Mandela Trust, and The NRM Family Trust. The NRM Family Trust, which was set up to cater to his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren numbering more than 30, gets R1.5million.

Each of his children, as well as some of his grand-children, will receive $300,000; while his grand children — the ones sired by his late son Makgatho — have been willed the posh house in Johannesburg, where he has mostly lived since his release from prison in 1990.

Executed by Mandela on 12th October 2004 with a first Codicil on 7th September 2005 and a second on 9th September 2008, the will could see ANC receive a portion of his royalties from books and other commercial outlets produced with his name and image. Mandela’s staff — even up to his personal assistant of many decades, Zelda Le Grange — will get R50,000 each.

Mandela’s personal chef, Xoliswa Ndoyiya could not contain her joy. “It really makes me happy”, she said. “I didn’t think Tata [a native term for father] was thinking of leaving something for me”.

Wits University, Qunu Secondary School and Orlando West High School in Soweto were bequeathed R100 000 each.

Although the revered statesman’s family is known to be notoriously discordant, Moseneke, after reading the will on Monday, denied potential uproar over the provisional R46,000,000 estate but admitted that the mood at the will-reading was charged with emotion.

“I am not aware of any contest of any type and the will has been duly lodged and accepted”, Moseneke said.

Also part of the estate are a high-class house in Houghton, a modest one in Qunu as well as royalties from the sale of books, such as his famous autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom”, which some of his grandchildren have begun exploiting with a line of caps and sweatshirts featuring his image under the brand book’s brands. Also two of his granddaughters based in the United States have already starred in Being Mandela, a reality television show.


South Africa Buries Mandela Amidst Military Pomp and Traditional Rites.

(Reuters) South Africa will bury Nelson Mandela on Sunday, closing one momentous chapter in its tortured history and opening another in which the multi-racial democracy he founded will have to discover if it can thrive without its central pillar.

flower4mmandelaThe Nobel peace laureate, who suffered 27 years in apartheid prisons before emerging to preach forgiveness and reconciliation, will be laid to rest after a state funeral mixing military pomp with the traditional rites of his Xhosa abaThembu clan.

The ceremony in the rolling hills of the Eastern Cape has drawn 4,500 guests, from relatives and South African leaders to foreign guests including Britain’s Prince Charles and American civil rights activist Reverend Jesse Jackson.

The anti-apartheid leader died in Johannesburg on December 5 aged 95, plunging his 53 million countrymen and millions more around the world into grief, and triggering more than a week of official memorials to the nation’s first black president.

As many as 100,000 people paid their respects in person to his lying in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, where he was inaugurated as president in 1994, an event that brought the curtain down on more than three centuries of white domination.

When his body arrived on Saturday at his ancestral home in Qunu, 700 km (450 miles) south of Johannesburg, it was greeted by ululating locals overjoyed that Madiba, the clan name by which he was affectionately known, had “come home”.

“After his long life and illness he can now rest,” said grandmother Victoria Ntsingo, as military helicopters escorting the funeral cortege clattered overhead. “His work is done.”


Source: African Examiner.

Fake Sign Language Interpreter Faced Murder, Rape Charges.

Image: Fake Sign Language Interpreter Faced Murder, Rape Charges

President Barack Obama delivers a speech next to sign language interpreter Thamsanqa Jantjie during the memorial service for late South African President Nelson Mandela at Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg. (Getty Images)

By Drew MacKenzie

The bogus sign language interpreter for the deaf at the Nelson Mandela funeral has faced several criminal charges including rape, kidnapping and murder, it was revealed Friday.

The South African news agency eNCA said it is not known what happened to Thamsanqa Jantjie’s murder charge because the documents in the case have vanished.

Jantjie, who stood close to world leaders including President Barak Obama at the memorial, has been denounced by deaf people worldwide, who said that his signing language was gibberish. It’s since been revealed that Jantjie had no sign language certification.

Now it turns out that Jantjie, who is being treated for schizophrenia, faced a rape charge in 1994, theft charges in 1995, a burglary charge in 1997, malicious damage charges in 1998, as well as murder, attempted murder, and kidnapping charges in 2003.

According to eNCA, most of the cases were dropped, supposedly because he was mentally unfit to stand trial. Although Jantjie was acquitted of rape, he was found guilty of theft and sentenced to three years in prison. But it is not known whether he actually spent time behind bars, says eNCA.

The 2003 murder, attempted murder, and kidnapping case was sent to the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg for trial, and although the case was finalized in 2006, the court file is empty, so the outcome in unknown.

The eNCA wasn’t able to confirm that the case was dropped because he was declared mentally unfit to stand trial.

Jantjie has admitted that he suffers from schizophrenia and that he was hallucinating visions of angels during the ceremony. He also said his schizophrenic episodes can lead to violence, and that he had spent a year in a mental health facility.

The fact that a dangerous, bogus interpreter was just a few feet from the president has drawn criticism for the Secret Service for not doing a background check.

But Edwin Donovan, deputy assistant director of the Secret Service, said Thursday that thevetting of sign language interpreters, or other stage participants, for criminal history was the responsibility of the host organizing committee.

And he added, “Secret Service special agents are always in close proximity to the president whether he is overseas or in residence at the White House.”

Related Stories:

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Mandela Signer: I’m Sign Language ‘Champion’; Claims Hallucinations.

Image: Mandela Signer: I'm Sign Language 'Champion'; Claims Hallucinations

JOHANNESBURG — A South African sign language interpreter accused of gesticulating gibberish as world leaders paid tribute to Nelson Mandela defended himself as a “champion” signer on Thursday, but said he suffered a schizophrenic episode during the event.The interpreter, identified as 34-year-old Thamsanqa Jantjie, told Johannesburg‘s Star newspaper he started hearing voices and hallucinating while on stage, resulting in gestures that made no sense to outraged deaf people around the world.

“There was nothing I could do. I was alone in a very dangerous situation. I tried to control myself and not show the world what was going on. I am very sorry. It’s the situation I found myself in,” he told the paper.

He did not know what triggered the attack, he added, saying he took medication for his schizophrenia.

Millions of TV viewers saw Jantjie interpreting for leaders including President Barack Obama and his South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma, at Tuesday’s Mandela memorial.

Afterward South Africa’s leading deaf association denounced Jantjie as a fake, saying he was inventing signs.

Editor’s Note: Health Benefits of Prayer Revealed!However, in a radio interview Jantjie said he was happy with his performance at the memorial to the anti-apartheid hero, who died a week ago aged 95.

“Absolutely, absolutely. I think that I’ve been a champion of sign language,” he told Talk Radio 702.

When contacted by Reuters he said he could not understand why people were complaining now rather than during other performances. “I’m not a failure. I deliver,” he said, before hanging up.

The controversy has overshadowed South Africa’s 10-day farewell to Mandela, whose remains were lying in state for a second day on Thursday at Pretoria’s Union Buildings, where he was sworn in as the nation’s first black president in 1994.

Revelations about Jantjie’s unconventional gestures — experts said he did not know even basic signs such as ‘thank you’ or ‘Mandela’ — sparked a hunt for the mystery mimer on Wednesday.

The government, which was in charge of the mass memorial, said it had no idea who he was, a comment echoed by the ruling African National Congress (ANC), even though footage from two large ANC events last year showed him signing on stage next to Zuma.

Jantjie said he worked for a company called SA Interpreters hired by the ANC for Tuesday’s ceremony at Johannesburg’s 95,000-seat Soccer City stadium.

“Absolutely. That’s what happened,” he told the radio.

The ANC denied any knowledge of Jantjie, but said it was investigating.

“I’m very, very surprised,” spokesman Jackson Mthembu said. “We will follow this up. We are not sure if there is any truth in what has been said.”

The death of Nobel peace laureate Mandela triggered an outpouring of grief and emotion – as well as celebration and thanksgiving – among his 53 million countrymen and millions more around the world.

His body will lie in state for a third day on Friday before being flown to the Eastern Cape, where it will be buried on Sunday at his ancestral home in Qunu, 700 kilometers (450 miles) south of Johannesburg.

Thousands of mourners continue to queue to say goodbye to Mandela in Pretoria in the building where the anti-apartheid hero was inaugurated in 1994 as South Africa’s first black president.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


Tata Was Not Normal By Chiechefulam Ikebuiro.

By Chiechefulam Ikebuiro

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison,”-Nelson Mandela

The greatest black man, for me, died on 5th of December 2013.

Nelson Mandela was a hero to my generation. Ask anyone then, while growing up, who their hero was and you get a Nelson Mandela nine out of ten times. We grew up reading about him and his struggles  to free South Africa from apartheid. We grew up listening to ‘free Mandela’ musics.

It is not a surprise that tribute after tribute have poured out from all corners of this world eulogizing Nelson Mandela. No wonder almost all the leaders of the world intend to be at his burial.

Madiba was just unbelievable. He had a heart made out of this world. Words cannot express this great man. He was not normal.

What sort of a man would go to the extent of almost laying down his life to liberate his people? Legend has it that he was offered a chance to go free, as long as he denies the ANC and the struggle to liberate his oppressed black people. This offer he refused! Even Peter denied Jesus for crying out loud. Normal people do not do that.

It is only Nelson Mandela who will forgive his oppressors. A normal man would pursue vengeance with all he has to make sure he pays back those who took away almost 30 years of his whole life. I am certain also that Tata forgave the western world-the same guys who labeled him a terrorist (The United States led by George Bush just removed him from the terror watch list in 2008 after Reagan included him since the 80’s) who now are at the forefront, today, singing his praises like no other. The same people who condoned apartheid because of trade links as well as South Africa’s gold.

Nelson Mandela hated oppression of any form. I have never seen a man who cared so much about people. He so cared about the ordinary man. He always spoke out when he sees oppression, no matter who you are. No wonder he said the United States of America doesn’t care for human beings when the US was about invading Iraq, insisting it was all about the oil. The war was going to take lives too-lives of the innocent.

He supported Libya and Ghadafi because he thought the UN sanctions against Libya was not really affecting Ghadafi, but the people of Libya. He was a man of peace. He craved world peace.

What kind of man relinquishes power voluntarily after just one term, when he had the chance to be in power till his dying days? I am certain South African’s would not have objected. That is unheard of in today’s world. Ask Mugabe to do that today and see what happens to you.

In fact where I come from he will be cursed by his people. He will be stoned if he dared to relinquish power. Nelson Mandela would still be president if he came from same place as me, I dare say. He would have been persuaded to steal and steal for his generation to come.  But Madiba thinks differently. He is a man who considers the people. He must have thought what use it will be adding to the woes of the people by stealing them blind when he is set up for life by virtue of being an ex president.

Where I come from a former president has his personal staff, personal security (Police and SSS), vehicles, drivers, diplomatic passport for life, medical services both at home and abroad, vacation abroad, accommodation as well as telephone line (all for life)all paid for by the government. What else makes life worth living? It still beats me that they still go ahead and loot like there is no tomorrow while in power even while the people suffer.

The world has indeed lost a great man. Mandela is irreplaceable. Madiba is larger than life. Madiba was a man of the people. Madiba loved Women(great Men do). His sense of humor was next to none. Madiba was special and he deserves the accolades.

I just wish the world (especially where I come from) would  reflect and stand for all he believed in…and more.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela lives on.

Chiechefulam Ikebuiro

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

More Than 70 Leaders Expected for Mandela Memorial, Funeral.

JOHANNESBURG — More than 70 world leaders from President Barack Obama to Iran’s Hassan Rouhani are flying to South Africa for events commemorating Nelson Mandela this week, an unprecedented gathering that will hail one of humanity’s great peacemakers.

Cuban leader Raul Castro, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, and Britain’s David Cameron will also join what is set to be one of the biggest meetings of global dignitaries in recent history on Tuesday at Johannesburg‘s Soccer City stadium, the foreign ministry said on Monday.

The 95,000-seat stadium in Soweto, the township that was at the heart of the anti-apartheid struggle, will host the main memorial ceremony for Mandela, who died on Thursday aged 95.

It was the site of Mandela’s last public appearance, when he waved to fans from the back of a golf cart at the final of the 2010 soccer World Cup.

“The whole world is coming to South Africa,” foreign ministry spokesman Clayson Monyela said, playing down concerns about organizing logistics and security for such a large event with only five days notice following Mandela’s death.

Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, passed away peacefully in the company of his family on Thursday after a long battle with a lung infection, plunging his 52 million compatriots and millions more around the world into grief.

“We’re obviously not starting from scratch in terms of organization,” Monyela said. “We’ve got a system that kicks into play whenever you’ve got events of this magnitude.”

Since his death, South Africa has been gripped by an outpouring of emotion unrivaled since Mandela’s release from 27 years in apartheid prisons in 1990, and his victory in the first all-race elections four years later.

On Sunday, worshippers filled churches, mosques, synagogues, and community halls, offering praise and prayers for a man celebrated as “Father of the Nation” and a global beacon of integrity, rectitude, and reconciliation.

Tributes have flowed in from around the world.

“The fact that international leaders are making their way to South Africa at such short notice reflects the special place President Mandela holds in the hearts of people around the globe,” Presidency Minister Collins Chabane said.

After Tuesday’s event, Mandela’s remains will lie in state for three days the Union Buildings in Pretoria, where he was sworn in as President in 1994. He will then be buried on Dec. 15 in Qunu, his ancestral home in the Eastern Cape province.

But only “very few” world leaders will attend the Qunu funeral, Monyela said, adding the idea was to keep this event more a family affair.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Netanyahu Skips Mandela Memorial Because of Expense.

Image: Netanyahu Skips Mandela Memorial Because of Expense

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided not to attend a memorial service for Nelson Mandela this week because it is too expensive to travel to South Africa, Israeli media reported Sunday.

Netanyahu had notified the South African authorities that he would fly in but cancelled his plans at the last minute due to the costs involved — around 7.0 million shekels ($2 million) for his transport and security alone, pubic radio and the Haaretz daily reported.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 
“The decision was made in light of the high transportation costs resulting from the short notice of the trip and the security required for the prime minister in Johannesburg,” Haaretz reported.

The Israeli leader has been in the spotlight recently with revelations that taxpayers dished out almost $1 million last year to maintain his three residences.

The media highlighted a bill of 17,000 euros ($23,000) for water to fill a swimming pool at his villa in Caesarea in the country’s north.

More than 50 heads of state and government have confirmed their intentions to travel to South Africa to pay their respects to the anti-apartheid hero who died last Thursday, South Africa’s foreign ministry has said.

US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle will be among 80,000 people attending a vast memorial service Tuesday in the Soweto sports stadium that hosted the 2010 World Cup final.

The commemorations will culminate with Mandela’s burial on December 15 in Qunu — the rural village where he spent his early childhood.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has announced that he will attend Tuesday’s memorial service.

Israeli leaders have paid warm homage to the former South African president who died after a long illness at the aged of 95.

Netanyahu paid tribute to Mandela as “a man of vision and a freedom fighter who disavowed violence”.

But some commentators have noted that Israel maintained close relations with the apartheid-era regime until the United States said the ties could threaten Washington’s generous annual military aid to the Jewish state.

After his release from 27 years incarceration in 1990, Mandela, who first visited Israel and the Palestinian territories in 1999, was an ardent supporter of the Palestinian cause but also a firm believer that Israelis would ultimately take the path of peace.

“In my experience I have found Jews to be more broadminded than most whites on issues of race and politics, perhaps because they themselves have historically been victims of prejudice,” Mandela wrote in his 1994 autobiography.

South African Jews played a prominent role in the struggle against apartheid, among them late communist leader Joe Slovo, who headed the ANC’s military wing.

© AFP 2013


Madiba (A Tribute To Nelson Mandela) By Obi Nwakanma.

The 19th century was the age of colonialism in Africa. It was a bewildering moment in the historical transition of the African world. The colonization of Africa, Scott Keltie wrote in his 1893 book, The Partition of Africa, was “one of the most remarkable episodes in the history of the world.” It led to a gargantuan shift in the cultural and economic balance of the world. It began quite simply; innocently even, masked as missions of exploration, when the key European powers, Great Britain, France, Portugal, Germany of the second Reich, Spain and a newly united Italy, and of course, that Belgian parvenu, King Leopold II, sent out their spies in the mask of missionaries, anthropologists and explorers, to take the full measure of the mysterious continent.

The foremost of them all, Dr. Livingstone had sent out a call to Europe to open up Africa to the three principles – Commerce, Christianity and Civilization – the so-called “triple alliance of Mammon, God and Social Progress.” I would here, take the liberty of quoting extensively from Thomas Parkenham’s important book, The Scramble for Africa, to illustrate the situation of Africa in the period: “Each responded to Livingstone’s call in his own fashion. But they all conceived of the crusade in terms of romantic nationalism. There were journalist-explorers like Henry Stanley, sailor-explorers like Pierre de Brazza, soldier-explorers like Frederick Lugard, pedagogue-explorers like Carl Peters, gold-and-diamond tycoons like Cecil Rhodes. Most of them were outsiders of one kind or another but no less ardent nationalists for that.

To imperialism – a kind of ‘race patriotism’ – they brought the missionary zeal. Not only would they save Africa from itself. Africa would be the saving of their own countries.” There is a strange, eerie feeling today in the first decade of the 21st century that we are back in Africa to the 19th century. Africa is once more the stomping ground of missionaries from the two most dangerous fundamentalist religions – Islam and Christianity, explorers, spies, soldiers, mercenaries, and racketeers coming in the same old disguises – NGOs, missionaries, investors, privateers, and all kinds of left-handed charities purportedly to save Africa from itself. Today, a new scramble for Africa is afoot with the new flash points in North Africa and Central Africa.

Sub-Saharan Africa is once one the stomping ground of all kinds of mischief. The tea leaves say that the new scramble and conquest of Africa will be longer, more deadly, and costlier in human and environmental terms. Yet it feels not too long ago, when Africans rallied to free themselves from the clutches of colonialism and alien rule. Postcolonial Africa has been buffeted by all manners of subversion – internal and external – and rendered almost prostate and outside of history by the political, economic and social upheavals that trailed the nationalist, independent movements of the 20th century. There is no doubt that Africans themselves must take clear responsibility for what they’ve made of the nations they inherited from European colonialism, but it is equally critical to constantly interrogate where the rain began to beat us. If the 19th century was the age of colonization, the 20th century was the age of African liberation from European colonialism.

By the interwar years, Nnamdi Azikiwe had blazed the trail with his fierce opposition to alien rule, and with the book, Renascent Africa, which in the words of one of the greatest icons of that movement, Dr. Julius Nyerere of Tanzania opened their eyes to a broader conception of Africa. “Until my generation read Renascent Africa” Nyerere said once at the Zik lectures at Lincoln University, “we did not know that Africa was possible.” Among that generation of young men who heard and hearkened to Azikiwe’s clarion for African freedom was Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (1918-2013), then a young South African lawyer. From 1948 to 1952, Mandela was active in organizing the ANC in Johannesburg, and was one of the founding members of its youth wing. In a sense, Mandela took the torch from another great legend of the struggle, the inimitable Albert Luthuli, who himself was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1961, and who was President-General of the ANC until July 1967, when he was killed as he was taking a walk by a train. Many still believe he was assassinated by the apartheid regime.

Mandela came to prominence on the wings of Luthuli and in his role in organizing the famous 1952 defiance campaign against the apartheid regime, and the treason and sedition trials from 1956 to 1961. In that space of the struggle, Mandela and the ANC operated on the principle of non-violence. But by 1960/61, many of the countries in Africa had achieved political independence. In South Africa and Rhodesia which had the invidious form of settler colonialism that led to apartheid and minority rule, it became clear that the fight would not be simply won on a “platter of gold.” Mandela changed tactics and was one of those alongside Walter Sisulu, who formed Umkhotho Sizwe (Burning Spear), the military wing of the anti-colonial, anti-apartheid movement in 1961 which organized a sabotage campaign against the apartheid regime. Mandela was declared wanted. For Six months between 1961 and 1962, Nelson Mandela was in Lagos attached to the NCNC Training School at Yaba and living with Mbazulike Amechi.

It was while in Nigeria that the decision was made to politicize the trial, and widen its symbolic meaning in the struggle to free South Africa and Rhodesia, the two hot-button foreign policy issues of the day for Africa. Mandela thus returned to South Africa to face his charges – a different form of defiance – and was jailed. Mandela’s imprisonment, and the political capital made of it changed the trajectory of the struggle in important ways. He remained defiant; committed, unbowed in the toil and suffering of prison in Roben Island. He became in the dignity he gave to suffering on behalf of the cause of freedom, the most important symbol of the anti-apartheid struggle. It was therefore to him, at the death of Luthuli, that the rest of the world looked for the solution to the problem. In 1990, he was freed after 27 years amidst the escalating violence in South Africa.

On regaining freedom, his first request was to meet with Dr. Azikiwe, and a meeting was thus arranged, and he visited Nigeria in 1991, and conferred with Zik at Onuiyi Haven before embarking on his American journeys. Thus Mandela completed the full cycle of the African liberation movement in the 20th century Mandela’s greatest contribution; his stature was in adhering to the three greatest principles on which he agreed at Onuiyi: a compromise of reconciliation and inclusion rather than retribution – the very same Zikist principle that ended the Nigerian civil war: No victor no vanquished; a compromise of accommodation and peace, a unity in diversity; an open, humane, and enlightened leadership in which  Mandela embodied the will of a new nation. There are those today who say he made too much compromise. But history will vindicate Mandela.

Dr. Nwakanma writes the “Orbit” column in the Sunday Vanguard.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Multicultural Faith Leaders Celebrate Nelson Mandela’s Life.


Nelson Mandela
Former South African President Nelson Mandela died Thursday. Here he’s pictured at his home in Johannesburg on Sept. 22, 2005. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings)

Nelson Mandela died peacefully at his home on Thursday, eliciting the attention of the pope, the president and multicultural faith leaders around the world.

“Nelson Mandela’s life embodied the idea of prophetic activism with an unquenchable thirst for justice,” says Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. “His struggle for equality brought down one of the final strongholds of segregation and subsequently empowered an entire continent to overcome by doing justice and loving mercy. His life inspired us while his humble demeanor will continue to move us towards a more just and loving world.”

Alveda King, niece of the late Martin Luther King Jr., says Mandela paid a heavy price to stand against apartheid while campaigning for human justice and human dignity. His message still resonates though his weary, battle-worn body has gone the way of those gone before him.

“Long may we remember his courage, his fortitude and his gentle smile, none of which were ever tarnished during the years of his battles, oppression, incarceration and the restorative years following his release,” King says. “Ninety-five years of life is a fitting testimony to the strength of character of this legendary statesman.”

King went on to say that Mandela now takes his place in history. She says the great world leader will be missed.

“A portrait hangs in my home. In the frame, poised between his fellow champions Martin and Malcolm, Mandela smiles while Martin is solemn and Malcolm is stoic. To be able to radiate joy in times of conflict is a gift,” King says. “To experience their three different expressions, the combined epitome of the human dream of freedom, is simply amazing.”

Pope Francis also paid tribute to Mandela and his struggle to forge a just South Africa on Friday.

“I pray that the late president’s example will inspire generations of South Africans to put justice and the common good at the forefront of their political aspirations,” Francis said in a telegram to South African President Jacob Zuma, according to a Reuters report.

The wire service reported the Pope saying, “The steadfast commitment shown by Nelson Mandela in promoting the human dignity of all the nation’s citizens and in forging a new South Africa built on the firm foundations of nonviolence, reconciliation and truth.”

The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D., dean and president of Virginia Theological Seminary, wrote about the death of Mandela in his daily Dean’s Commentary on Friday.

“When the word of his death reached us, I knew that the world had lost a giant like it has not often seen,” Markham wrote. “He walked a ‘stony road’ for freedom. His was a life of sacrifice with 27 years in prison. His dignity and service led to the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa.

“He was truly the world’s moral compass. Compassionate resistance to colonial power was his way of being. Truly an elder statesman. He was embraced by the world—a man who struggled for us all. He was freed from prison once. Now he is freed from this earthly journey. A giant has left us.”


Nelson Mandela, a Hero for Our Times.

Image: Nelson Mandela, a Hero for Our Times

Christopher Ruddy visits the jail cell formerly occupied by Nelson Mandela.

Not all world leaders are also heroes. Nelson Mandela, however, was both.

President Mandela has left the world stage, but he will remain a model for those who lead and seek to promote the ideals of human dignity, freedom, and democratic values.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

I never met Mandela, though I got close. Two years ago, I joined former President Bill Clinton in his visit to see Mandela in South Africa as part of his Clinton Foundation mission to the continent. Even at that time Mandela was ailing.

But during my visit to South Africa, I saw his handiwork and how one man can make a difference for the betterment of his country and for mankind.

I recall visiting the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. Much like our Holocaust Museum and Yad Vashem, the world’s center of Holocaust documentation and education, it seeks to reveal the horrors of human barbarity, in this case, South Africa’s system of racial segregation.

Yet this museum did more than that; it told the story of apartheid through the life and eyes of Nelson Mandela.

During his almost three decades of incarceration, Mandela was derided by the ruling white Afrikaners as a Marxist revolutionary. The Cold War, for many in the West, seemed to excuse the inexcusable.

It was clear visiting the Apartheid Museum that if Mandela was a Marxist, it was only because he felt there was little alternative for him to fight for his people.

Our museum guide explained that Mandela himself had played an important role in shaping the museum, which helped me understand his thinking.

Exhibits detailed Mandela’s long admiration for Great Britain, its parliamentary system, and his hope that South Africa would emulate not only its institutions, but its sense of fair play and justice.

One exhibit that made a strong impression was a video of then President Mandela in his office, dressed in a business suit, greeting the 8-year-old son of a cabinet member.

Mandela talked to the boy in a fatherly way about his aspirations, encouraging the child to do well in school and do the best he could in life. It was just like an American dad encouraging his son to capture the American dream. These were not the words or thoughts of a Marxist revolutionary.

Indeed, Mandela, upon release from prison, rejected the Marxist model of Fidel Castro and the dictatorship that Robert Mugabe chose for a liberated Zimbabwe. Instead, he chose to have his nation walk the path of Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi, embracing the ideals of nonviolence and forgiveness.

Apartheid was an evil and brutal system, but Mandela believed that a focus on the past would not solve the problems of the present and future.

Later on the trip, our delegation visited Robben Island, the penal colony near Cape Town. It was there that Mandela and his imprisoned African National Congress members suffered harshly. Our guide for the prison tour was a fellow ANC inmate who shared his experiences with Mandela.

What struck me was how happy our guide seemed. He, like Mandela, had discovered true freedom through their suffering.

The tiny cell in which Mandela spent most of his time, a room as large as a small bathroom or a walk-in closet, had a mat on the concrete floor for him to sleep on. The large window was barred. After a brief period in a common room for meals, a room that did not afford the prisoners chairs or tables, Mandela and his fellow inmates spent most of the day in a prison courtyard physically breaking rocks under the heat of the sun.

The obvious question I had was how he could survive this for 27 years. Mandela spent 18 years on Robben Island! How did he avoid going raving mad?

He survived and became an incredibly balanced man, one whose virtue and leadership propelled him to become not only the father of his country, but also an iconic leader for millions around the world.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

I do not have the full answers as to how Mandela overcame this oppression. But I do believe that Mandela discovered a power deep within the human spirit, one that Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote about from his own Gulag experiences, and detailed in his fictional “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich,” that no one person, no system of government can ever really steal one’s God-given freedom.

Mandela also understood that our freedom is inexplicably linked to others. He wrote, “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

Christopher Ruddy is CEO and editor of Newsmax Media Inc. Read more Christopher Ruddy Insider articles — Click Here Now.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Tag Cloud