Nelson Mandela 1918 – 2013
South Africa – (By Jocelyne Hudson-Brown) – Few people in the history of the world have a profound effect on all mankind. Fewer still are deemed worthy of near sainthood, their death eliciting a cause for global mourning. Nelson Mandela will be counted among those few.
I saw Mandela in Oakland. June 1990. It was the last stop on an 8 city tour of the U.S. 4 months after being freed from a South African jail. He had been a political prisoner for 27 years. At the age of 71 he was a free man.
“Mandela is coming, Mandela is coming” everybody was talking about it. I did not know who “Mandela” was. The event was at the Oakland Coliseum. The way folks carried on I thought he was a (new) rock star. Somebody at work had an extra ticket. Looking back, I now recognize I saw and heard speak one of the greatest human beings of all time.
I went expecting a concert when what actually took place was an old school love/peace fest/, black power movement/protest, Bay Area style, attended by 58,000 people. In a sea of people banners that read “Oregon” and “Seattle”, they had come from all over the West Coast. The hippies from Berkeley/San Francisco and the Black Panthers from Oakland were both well represented. Within an expanse of multicultural faces, yellow, black and green (the South African flag) were the colors of the blistering hot day.
Oakland, CA , the birthplace of the Black Panther/Black Power movement was a fitting stop for the tour. Fresh out of jail Mandela had come to America to press even harder for sanctions against corporations that did business with South Africa under the conditions of apartheid. The ovation that greeted the little old man as he walked on stage was long and thunderous. He gave his speech and people cried. When he spoke of equality and (in)justice and freedom for his people in South Africa it renewed what would became a global response to his plea. (See Internet videos). Four years later he was elected president of South Africa.
Having to carry a “pass”, segregation, not being allowed to vote or own property were the law during apartheid. “We were placed in a position to accept inferiority or defy the government. We choose to defy the government”. said Mandela. Nelson Mandela’s story is one of perseverance, dignity and honor. His is the story of not backing down, of not giving up. He fought the good fight and we all won!
Editors Note: As of Inquiring News press time President Obama, past presidents Bush and Clinton and an assortment of world leaders will attend services this week. Thru Dec. 15th the country of South Africa will hold private and state rituals.
Jocelyne Hudson-Brown is an award winning journalist and a longtime correspondent for the Inquiring News. She can be reached at email@example.com
US Leaders note the following Statements:
STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT OBAMA ON THE DEATH OF NELSON MANDELA
THE PRESIDENT: At his trial in 1964, Nelson Mandela closed his statement from the dock saying, “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.”
And Nelson Mandela lived for that ideal, and he made it real. He achieved more than could be expected of any man. Today, he has gone home. And we have lost one of the most influential, courageous, and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth. He no longer belongs to us — he belongs to the ages.
Through his fierce dignity and unbending will to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedom of others, Madiba transformed South Africa — and moved all of us. His journey from a prisoner to a President embodied the promise that human beings — and countries — can change for the better. His commitment to transfer power and reconcile with those who jailed him set an example that all humanity should aspire to, whether in the lives of nations or our own personal lives. And the fact that he did it all with grace and good humor, and an ability to acknowledge his own imperfections, only makes the man that much more remarkable. As he once said, “I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”
I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s life. My very first political action, the first thing I ever did that involved an issue or a policy or politics, was a protest against apartheid. I studied his words and his writings. The day that he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they’re guided by their hopes and not by their fears. And like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set, and so long as I live I will do what I can to learn from him.
To Graça Machel and his family, Michelle and I extend our deepest sympathy and gratitude for sharing this extraordinary man with us. His life’s work meant long days away from those who loved him the most. And I only hope that the time spent with him these last few weeks brought peace and comfort to his family.
To the people of South Africa, we draw strength from the example of renewal, and reconciliation, and resilience that you made real. A free South Africa at peace with itself — that’s an example to the world, and that’s Madiba’s legacy to the nation he loved.
We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again. So it falls to us as best we can to forward the example that he set: to make decisions guided not by hate, but by love; to never discount the difference that one person can make; to strive for a future that is worthy of his sacrifice.
For now, let us pause and give thanks for the fact that Nelson Mandela lived — a man who took history in his hands, and bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice. May God Bless his memory and keep him in peace.
National Newspaper Publishers Association Chairman
Cloves C. Campbell’s Statement On Nelson Mandela’s Passing
The entire world has lost a true legend with the passing of President Nelson Mandela. His life-long fight against injustice, hate and inequality will remain as a reminder that, if there is no struggle, there is no progress. May he rest in peace.
Hartford Mayor Segarra
Hartford – (December 5, 2013) Mayor Segarra released the following statement regarding the death of Nelson Mandela:
“Today, the world lost one its greatest leaders, one of its greatest champions of humanity and a transformational human being. Mr. Mandela will always be remembered for his unrelenting pursuit of racial equality as well as his passionate belief in humanity. The world was fortunate to have shared his presence. We should honor him by continuing to advance his lifelong work of pursuing justice and equality for everyone. His passing is very sad but also a reminder of how personal determination can bring about seemingly impossible change.” Mayor Segarra has directed all flags to half-staff in his honor.