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Saturday, December 7, 2013


Casting his first vote

When you think of Nelson Mandela, what are the moments that come to mind? NELSON MANDELA led us out of apartheid and thus South Africa became ‘the rainbow nation’. Here is a list of 10 ‘Madiba moments‘: prolific moments that made the man so great, and the nation so proud.

RELEASE FROM PRISON:  The sight of Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie walking out of the Victor Verster prison gates on 11 February 1990 is one that many South Africans will never forget. Madiba and Winnie walked hand in hand, smiling and saluting the crowd. This was the day that Mandela stood before his people and declared ‘our march to freedom is irreversible’. People danced and sang in the streets and it became apparent that the dark days of apartheid were well and truly coming to an end.

CASTING HIS FIRST VOTE: On 27 April 1994, Nelson Mandela cast his vote in South Africa’s first democratic election. Millions of others queued for hours to vote for the first time in their lives.  After Mandela voted he said, “This is for all South Africans, an unforgettable occasion. It is the realisation of hopes and dreams that we have cherished over decades. The dreams of a South Africa which represents all South Africans. It is the beginning of a new era. We have moved from an era of pessimism, division, limited opportunities, turmoil and conflict. We are starting a new era of hope, reconciliation and nation building.”

Winning the Nobel Prize

PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION AND 'FREE AT LAST' SPEECH: What happened on 2 May 1994 will remain one of the most prolific moments of all time. Nelson Mandela, the first black president of South Africa, was sworn in as the republic’s president after over three centuries of white minority rule. This was the day things truly changed in South Africa: people could marry based on love and not race and South Africans of all races could enjoy living in a country free of legislated racial divide.
 1995 RUGBY WORLD CUP: Some people believe this was the moment South Africa truly became a rainbow nation. As he walked onto the rugby field and waved his green and gold cap in the air, Madiba won the hearts and minds of all South Africans: regardless of race, regardless of where people came from; everybody was invited to join in the celebration. As Mandela once said – ‘sport has the power to…change the world’. It seems he proved himself right.

WINNING THE NOBEL PRIZE: Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk jointly won the Nobel Prize in 1993 for their contributions to the realm of civil rights. Mandela proudly dedicated the prize to all the people who fought against ‘the violence’ of apartheid. He pledged to continue in his fight towards the noble goal of ‘a society which recognises that all people are born equal, with each entitled in equal measure to life, liberty, prosperity, human rights and good governance.’

THE 'MADIBA JIVE':  South Africans are renowned for their dancing and singing abilities, and lucky for us: Nelson Mandela is one great dancer. The journalist Andrew Meldrum of America’s Global Post described Madiba’s dancing antics during his birthday celebrations in 2010 like this: ‘He strides in rhythmic steps and swings his friendly fists, occasionally punching the air with joy. To see the great leader shake the burdens off his shoulders and shake a leg is truly beautiful, a victory of the human spirit. The Madiba shuffle has been emulated across South Africa by dancers of all ages and races.’

‘MADIBA SHIRTS’: In general, politicians have a standard uniform: suit (preferably black or grey) and tie – or some variation of this. Nelson Mandela on the other hand, has always gone for a more ‘proudly African’ way of dressing – bright and airy batik shirts with vivid splashes of colour. They might just be clothes, but Madiba’s shirts deserve a mention because they have always brought a sense of freedom and uniqueness to an area that has always been quite buttoned up and reserved. They shout ‘You are who you are! Be yourself and be proud.’

SURPRISE APPEARANCE ON STAGE AT JOHNNY CLEGG CONCERT:  South African musician Johnny Clegg opened a concert in France in 1999 with his popular song ‘Asimbonanga’, meaning ‘we have not seen him’ – referring to Mandela, whose image was banned during apartheid.  Towards the end, the man himself makes a surprise appearance on stage, where he does his famous jive and makes a short impromptu speech.

MADIBA WINS OVER THE BRITISH AND IS HONOURED WITH STATUE IN LONDON:  Madiba has certainly managed to win over the British. In 1987 Margaret Thatcher called the ANC a ‘typical terrorist organisation’ – exactly 20 years later a statue of Nelson Mandela was unveiled in London’s Parliament Square, where he stands amongst figures like Churchill and Lloyd George. He is also said to have a close relationship with HM the Queen – ‘You look younger everytime I see you’ he said last time he saw her. Apparently she was delighted.
46664: South Africa reportedly has the highest number of people living with AIDS in the world; it is an issue that has torn apart lives, families and entire communities. Mandela has played a significant role in creating awareness and removing the stigma associated with AIDS in South Africa. A series of music concerts took the world by storm in the 2000s – they were called 46664 after Mandela’s prison identification number. At the first concert, which took place in 2003, Mandela said ‘AIDS is no longer just a disease; it is a human rights issue.’




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