News / USA

US Congress Celebrates Mandela's 95th Birthday

An electronic billboard announces Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday in Times Square, New York, July 18, 2013.An electronic billboard announces Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday in Times Square, New York, July 18, 2013.
x
An electronic billboard announces Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday in Times Square, New York, July 18, 2013.
An electronic billboard announces Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday in Times Square, New York, July 18, 2013.
Cindy Saine
Leaders of the U.S. Congress held a ceremony Thursday celebrating the life, legacy and values of Nobel Peace Prize winner and former South African President Nelson Mandela on the occasion of his 95th birthday.
 
A colorful ensemble of traditional South African singers, dancers and drummers danced their way into Emancipation Hall in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center, where a large group of U.S. lawmakers, civil rights leaders and members of the African Diplomatic Corps were gathered.
 
House Speaker John Boehner thanked the Congressional Black Caucus for organizing the event, and paid tribute to Nelson Mandela for keeping his humility and faith through 27 years in prison and his long struggle against apartheid in South Africa.
 
"At times it can almost feel like we are talking about an old friend," said Boehner, who called Mandela beloved in the halls of Congress. "And the reason for that I think is scarcely a week, a day goes by without us pointing to Mandela as an example."
 
Democratic Party Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who led anti-apartheid protests and was a leader in the California movement to divest state pension funds from South African companies — which became a national divestment movement — paid tribute to Mandela's decades of sacrifice, calling him "the most significant historic figure in the world in the past 100 years."
 
Republican Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell called Mandela a very rare individual.
 
"Rarer still is a leader who can directly challenge an established order, upend nearly every convention of a society, and still find a way to establish himself as a unifying figure," he said.
 
Mandela has spent more than a month in a South African hospital for a lung infection, though family members and doctors said Thursday they are encouraged by his progress.
 
Ebrahim Rasool, South African ambassador to the United States, said there can be no doubt that Mandela will leave a lasting legacy of standing up for the oppressed all over the world.
 
"Even today, as the angels wrestle with his soul, he refuses to pass simply out of human existence," Rasool said. "It is reported that he is watching television with his headphones on."
 
The audience of dignitaries came alive when musicians from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz played Hugh Masekela's "Bring Him Back Home."
 
Members of Congress took turns reading short passages from Nelson Mandela's own words from different phases of his life, and recalled that he spoke to a joint session of Congress twice, inspiring Democrats and Republicans alike.

You May Like

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers 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.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, even music are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. Faith Lapidus narrates a report from VOA’s June Soh.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, even music are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. Faith Lapidus narrates a report from VOA’s June Soh.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid