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

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid