News / Africa

    World Leaders Pay Tribute to Mandela

    Outpouring of Emotion at Memorial for South Africa’s Mandelai
    X
    December 10, 2013 7:14 PM
    Tens of thousands of South Africans gathered Tuesday in a soccer stadium near Soweto to bid farewell to anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, a man loved around the world for his long, difficult fight to end apartheid and bring equality to South Africa. The memorial service in Johannesburg also brought together dignitaries and celebrities from around the world. VOA’s Anita Powell was there, and brings us this report.
    Anita Powell
    Tens of thousands of South Africans gathered Tuesday to bid farewell to anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, a man loved around the globe for his long, difficult fight to bring equality to South Africa.  The event at a Johannesburg soccer stadium brought together dignitaries and celebrities from around the world - as well as masses of ordinary South Africans who braved long waits and bad weather to pay tribute to the man everyone here knows simply as “Tata.”

    Cold, rainy weather didn’t stop more than 60,000 South Africans - and many dignitaries from abroad - from descending on this Johannesburg soccer stadium to celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela.

    The former president and anti-apartheid icon died Thursday at the age of 95, after a long battle with a recurring lung infection.

    He is admired in South Africa and around the world for leading the intense struggle to end South Africa’s racist apartheid regime.  He spent 27 years in prison for his opposition to the regime, and emerged to become South Africa’s first black president in 1994.

    • People cheer as U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the FNB Stadium during the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.
    • U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the crowd during a memorial service for Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.
    • A man holds a placard with an image of Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium during a national memorial service, Dec. 10, 2013.
    • Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Nelson Mandela's former wife, listens to speeches during his memorial service at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.
    • A portrait of Nelson Mandela is seen through a sea of umbrellas during his memorial service at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, near Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.
    • Actress Charlize Theron speaks with musician Bono before the memorial service for Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.
    • People sing and dance as they arrive for the memorial service for Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, near Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.

    What truly makes him extraordinary was his transformation during those decades in prison from an angry youth leader to a wise statesman who stressed the need for racial reconciliation in this deeply divided nation.

    World leaders and celebrities also converged on the stadium, which was the site of Mandela’s last public appearance in 2010, at the final of the soccer World Cup.

    Among them was U.S. President Barack Obama, who said that Mandela was his role model.

    “Over 30 years ago, while still a student, I learned of Mandela and the struggles in this land.  It stirred something in me.  It woke me up to my responsibilities - to others, and to myself - and set me on an improbable journey that finds me here today," he said. "And while I will always fall short of Madiba’s example, he makes me want to be better.  He speaks to what is best inside us.  After this great liberator is laid to rest; when we have returned to our cities and villages, and rejoined our daily routines, let us search then for his strength - for his largeness of spirit - somewhere inside ourselves."

    Watch clips of Obama's eulogy remarks
     
    Obama Eulogizes Mandelai
    X
    December 10, 2013 2:05 PM
    Obama Eulogizes Mandela

    Johannesburg resident Thuli Fihla, 45, said she couldn’t miss this event.  She credited Mandela for helping her get ahead in life. 

    “I actually woke up at 3:30 so I’ve been up very early and I couldn’t sleep early.  But I mean, as a South African, and someone who has seen apartheid before and now witnessed the new democracy, there was no way I could miss this day," she said.  "Mandela is everything to us.  I’ve got the kind of job that I have now because of Mandela.  I have the kind of home that I have now because of Mandela.  You know, everything we have in this country, we owe to Mandela and his colleagues.”

    More than 90 world leaders gathered in Johannesburg on Tuesday for a memorial service honoring the late South African President Nelson Mandela.  Below are excerpts.

    • South Africa's President Jacob Zuma: Mandela was a "fearless freedom fighter who refused to allow the brutality of the apartheid state" stand in the way for a struggle for liberation.
    • President Barack Obama: "Mandela showed us the power of action; of taking risks on behalf of our ideals."
    • UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: "His compassion stands out most. He was angry at injustice, not at individuals."
    • Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff: "His fight went way beyond his national border and inspired men and women, young people and adults to fight for independence and social justice."
    • India's President Pranab Mukherjee: "He was the last of the giants who led the world's struggles against colonialism and his struggle held special significance for us."
    • Cuba's President Raul Castro: "Mandela has led his people into the battle against apartheid to open the way to a new South Africa, a non-racial and a united South Africa."
    • China's Vice President Li Yuanchao: "The Chinese people will always cherish the memory of his important contribution to the China - South Africa friendship and China-Africa relations.''
    Beloved as he was, Mandela was still a politician and his memorial was not free of politics.  His death has coincided with a rising swell of disapproval for President Jacob Zuma, who has been the target of a serious corruption investigation. 

    The crowd booed Zuma numerous times during the service, while pointedly cheering for his predecessor Thabo Mbeki and even for the nation’s last apartheid president, F.W. de Klerk.

    In his eulogy, Zuma referred to Mandela by his clan name, Madiba.

    “We do not call Madiba the father of our rainbow nation merely for political correctness and relevance.  We do so because he laid a firm foundation for the South Africa of our dreams - one that is united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous,” he said.

    Mandela’s body will now go to the capital, Pretoria, where it will lie in state for three days.  He will then be buried in a family ceremony in his ancestral home of Qunu.  Each province will also hold memorial ceremonies.

    At the ceremony, a gospel choir and the military band put their feelings about Mandela into a universal language, with the song that Mandela used as a rallying cry during the struggle to bring freedom to South Africa.

    "Nkosi Sikel’ iAfrica," a liberation song that Mandela had incorporated into the national anthem. Its verses, in a mix of Zulu, Sesotho, Afrikaans and English, describe the dreams of this nation: stop wars and suffering, save our nation, the nation of South Africa.

    Fitting words for a man who changed not just his nation, but the world.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Wayne Krups from: UK
    December 10, 2013 2:48 PM
    During a memorial service for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg today, President Barack Obama challenged leaders who supported Mandela’s struggle for freedom but “do not tolerate dissent from their own people,” a stunning piece of hypocrisy given that the Obama administration has aggressively pursued dissenters at every turn, from punitive targeting of Tea Party groups via the IRS to the unprecedented prosecution of whistleblowers.

    “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,” stated Obama.

    This is quite rich coming from someone whose administration has overseen, according to Time Magazine, “a record as the most aggressive prosecutor of alleged government leakers in U.S. history.”

    This war on whistleblowers has resulted in reporters like James Risen being threatened with jail time unless they reveal their sources, while the Obama administration has charged more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all past presidents combined.

    Obama’s Department of Justice also illegally spied on the Associated Press and Fox News in its pursuit of alleged leakers (in other words “dissenters” trying to expose government corruption).

    Conservative political groups who dissented against Obama’s policies have also found themselves in the crosshairs. Earlier this year it was revealed that the IRS had targeted political groups applying for tax-exempt status based on their names or political persuasion.

    “IRS documents show the agency flagged political groups based on the content of their literature, raising concerns specifically about “anti-Obama rhetoric,” inflammatory language and “emotional” statements made by non-profits seeking tax-exempt status,” reported USA Today.

    Not only have Tea Party groups been targeted by the IRS, but prominent critics of Obamacare have also found themselves on the receiving end of audits shortly after speaking out against the Affordable Care Act.

    Less than two weeks after appearing on Fox News to relate how he was unable to afford a drastic rise in health care premiums thanks to Obamacare (and basically acknowledging that he would rather leave the money to his family and die), cancer victim Bill Elliott was informed that he would be facing an IRS audit.

    After seeing his appearance on Fox News, Chicago insurance broker and ObamaCare critic C. Steven Tucker helped Elliot obtain assistance and Elliot publicly thanked him for doing so. Shortly after, Tucker received a letter from the IRS telling him that he would be audited in 2014.

    When Obama criticizes other leaders for not tolerating dissent from their own people, he should take a look in the mirror.

    Obama has presided over an administration that has been nothing but intolerant of dissent at every level, deliberately targeting prominent critics of his policies and his prosecution of national security issues – tactics that have created a chilling effect by intimidating other whistleblowers and dissenters from publicly airing their concerns.

    Be prepared for backlash from the regime for not groveling to the co-founder of a terrorist organization, Mandela.

    by: max uyo ameh from: nigeria
    December 10, 2013 2:40 PM
    Mandela ! God ? Prophet? Saviour ?
    In Response

    by: Savo from: Italy
    December 10, 2013 3:59 PM
    None of what you listed, NONE, just a mere man that was complicit in the founding of a terror organization. FACTS will always dictate.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.