News / Africa

For South Africans, a Bittersweet Birthday Celebration for Nelson Mandela

South African President Jacob Zuma, second left, in background with a bust of former South African President Nelson Mandela, center, outside Parliament before giving the State of the Nation address in the city of Cape Town, South Africa, June 17, 2014.
South African President Jacob Zuma, second left, in background with a bust of former South African President Nelson Mandela, center, outside Parliament before giving the State of the Nation address in the city of Cape Town, South Africa, June 17, 2014.
Anita Powell

For many South Africans, this year's celebration of Nelson Mandela's birthday (July 18) is bittersweet, as the statesman died last year at the age of 95. But some say that his influence still looms large in South Africa, and they will honor him Friday on his birthday.  

Friday will be the first Mandela Day to happen without its namesake. The former South African president died in December after years of declining health.

Mandela went to prison for 27 years for his opposition to the racist apartheid regime. He emerged in 1990 and was elected South Africa’s first black president in the nation’s first democratic, all-race elections. Many South Africans call him “Tata,” or father, as he is widely considered the father of today’s inclusive Rainbow Nation.

In Johannesburg, many say they plan to celebrate his life and honor his memory by volunteering. Many South Africans say they support a growing initiative to do charitable work for 67 minutes -- as the Nelson Mandela Foundation says, that’s one minute for every year Mandela gave to his struggle for equality.

South African President Jacob Zuma also has announced a nationwide effort, called Operation Clean Up for Madiba -- Madiba is Mandela’s clan name, and is often used as a sign of respect and love.

In Johannesburg, college student Mbalenhle Mankayi summed up many South Africans’ mixed feelings about this year’s celebration.

“I’m very excited although I do wish that he was still alive, you know, considering all that he’s done for this country, and they way he’s just changed the way we do things and everything," she said. "This Mandela Day I am going to be working at a charity for some children who are busy -- well, they kind of suffer in life, and I just feel that it’s within my right, considering all that I have and how blessed I am, to go to play my part in those children’s lives, yes.”

Samson Sivhada, who is a professional butler, said he has no definite plans for Mandela Day, but that he will find a way to remember Mandela and serve in his honor.

“Mandela, I would say, is an icon to so many people in the whole world and we have to be proud, as South Africans, to have a man of his caliber," he said. "Though he is late [dead] now, but they say we have to lead with [by] example, it’s the greatest example in a human being’s life, definitely.”

Businesses are also honoring the day, many with large corporate donations, free events and charitable initiatives.

On a smaller scale, entrepreneur Henry Cock, who runs a trendy restaurant and bar in Johannesburg, said his bar will earmark a portion of every drink sale on the day for Mandela’s children’s charity.

“It’s just about giving something back," he said. "Sometimes people don’t have time to literally go out and do something for 67 minutes, but I feel like every small donation to that children’s home helps, so hopefully we can make a couple of thousand rand and donate it to the children’s home and that will help a child out for a month or two or whatever.”

While the great statesman is no longer here, his spirit shines brightly over his beloved Rainbow Nation, and will be honored on Mandela Day.

You May Like

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More