Nelson Mandela, Model of Reconciliation in World of Conflict

Former South African President Nelson Mandela has drawn quite a bit of attention at The Wild Geese, and not only within the past 24 hours since this legendary leader's passing.

Here are some of the tributes members have posted:

* "Mandela (The Legend)," Derek Warfield and The Young Wolfe Tones, lyrics by Daniel Hannon)

"Lion in a Cage" Dolores Keane performing, with stirring refrain "Mandela will be free ... "

* U2 premieres their new song Ordinary Love (from Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom)

* 'Mandela the Legend,' Mary Courtney Live at Tir na nOg - Trenton, NJ July 3, 2010

* Mandela at Yankee Stadium 1990: 'I Am a Yankee.'

* 'Father of the Nation Has Passed Away,' East Rand (South Africa) Stereo 93.9, Highlights of Nelson Mandela's Life (Audio, 9:49)

* 'Long Walk To Freedom,' By Nelson Mandela, Excerpt from Audio Book

Views: 826

Tags: Africa, Bronx, New York, News, United States

Comment by Rónán Gearóid Ó Domhnaill on December 6, 2013 at 3:08pm

I will never understand how Gerry Adams was, and is still is, vilified yet Mandela is hailed as a hero. Both men supported acts of violence. 

Comment by Rónán Gearóid Ó Domhnaill on December 7, 2013 at 9:06am

He seems to be looked upon as some kind of Messiah. He does not appear to have a friend of Margaret Thatcher or the US:

If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in ...
Nelson Mandela 

Comment by Ryan O'Rourke on December 7, 2013 at 9:32am

You make valid points, Rónán.  Mandela did some good things which brought about much-needed change in South Africa, but he certainly was far from perfect.  And that's exactly how some are portraying him -- as perfect.

Comment by Ryan O'Rourke on December 7, 2013 at 9:43am

Pretty sure Mandela was a communist as well, so if that's the sort of thing that "floats your boat" ...

Comment by Rónán Gearóid Ó Domhnaill on December 7, 2013 at 10:56am

I wonder at the current hero worship and am scepticial of his Jesus like status.Not since Lady Di has there been such an outpouring of grief. Certainly he fought an unjust system, but personally I would have had more respect for the Gandhi approach. I think the 'communist' label stems from his Anti Americanism or rather his anti American world policies. 

Comment by Gerry Regan on December 7, 2013 at 11:56am

No one can fairly call Mandela a socialist, much less a communist. He may have been a communist in his youth, but once he assumed power he led South Africa's economy with great aplomb, leaving its industries in the hands of their skilled white ownership, while creating more opportunities for black entrepreneurship and employement. It's an ongoing process, as apartheid really put South Africa's non-white populations at a huge disadvantage.

As to his attitude toward the United States government, it is typical of left-leaning governments in the developing world, including India, and many in Europe. I'd call it a healthy skepticism, and fairly earned.

Comment by Ryan O'Rourke on December 7, 2013 at 11:59am

Hmmm ... I'd like to read more about that, Gerry.  I've seen some fairly compelling evidence that he held onto much of his communist philosophies to the end, but many say no.

Comment by Rose Maurer on December 8, 2013 at 10:41am

Gerry, thank you for an objective, well informed opinion.I am going to risk the outrage, or at the least, irritation of some TWG members from their preceding comments!

Born and bred in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, where I still reside, I lived through the 'apartheid' years implemented by the Nationalist Party which came into power some 6 months after my birth. It might be useful to understand that 'apartheid' was the Afrikaans speaking Government's term for 'separate development'.

There are some interesting parallels here, between the Protestant and Catholic citizens, of sadly partitioned Ireland; and the South African 'white' Afrikaans and English speaking citizens, 9 other 'Black' cultures, each with their own language. I do not wish to exclude the South African Indians and the 'coloured' people - originally of Malay origin, who are proud of their nomenclature; all of whom form part of the huge diaspora which constitutes my country.

In simplistic terms, the difference between the 'troubles' in Ireland and those in South Africa, was that the former division was based on religion, and the latter on the colour of one's skin.

The similarity is that, as it seems to be the wont of sundry Governments for centuries, millions of Irish citizens fled to America, many via Ellis Island, or were transported as prisoners to Australia; whereas the South African Nationalist Government, having held many legal trials, of which the Rivonia trial is the best known, also transported political prisoners to Robben Island, a small island some distance away from Cape Town, which had initially been used for imprisoning political prisoners since the Dutch began this practice in the 17th Century.

Nelson Mandela was the most famous prisoner to be incarcerated there. A qualified lawyer, who attempted to secure equal rights for all citizens in South Africa, through negotiations with the Nationalist Government, he spent the majority of his 27 years of his imprisonment, breaking rocks in a quarry on Robben Island, with a pick and shovel. [see]. This island has now been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In 1994, Madiba (as Nelson Mandela became fondly called by all races), became the first Black President of South Africa, a position which he held for 5 years, and from which he voluntarily stepped down to make way for others to put into place his dreams and plans for a united South Africa.

During his tenure, every South African over the age of 18 years was given the right to vote; a new National Flag was designed in 1994 [see en]; a new Constitution was adopted in 1996; and in 1997, the new National Anthem of South Africa was compiled. The latter is particularly interesting, since  the former National Anthem (a poem), which had Afrikaans words, was replace4d by a Blacl Church hymn 'Nkosii Sikelel' iAfrika' (God bless Africa), but each verse is sung in a different language [en South-Africa].

The languages, in order are: Xhosa; Zulu; Sesotho; Afrikaans and English.

In preparation for the 1995 Rugby World Cup, it was suggested that the Springbok Rugby Team learn all the words of Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika, which they did, and indeed still sing with gusto prior to International Rugby matches. I suggest you observe the next Ireland vs South Africa Rugby match, and note the enthusiasm with which the Afrikaans verse is sung by all - Springbok players and spectators alike (of all ages) sing the familiar Afrikaans verse - even if they were what we call 'Freedom babies)!

Madiba managed the impossible - to unite us into a Rainbow Nation, which he achieved with dignity and a complete absence of bitterness, for which we give thanks. There is so much more I could say, and our country is by no means perfect, but come and see for yourselves!

Comment by Ryan O'Rourke on December 8, 2013 at 10:46am

Good to get your perspective, Rose.  I was hoping you'd give us your thoughts.

Comment by Gerry Regan on December 11, 2013 at 10:23am

Rose, thank you for this. You write well, and would relish getting more of your thoughtful viewpoints in our pages. Consider putting your comments here into a blog post, perhaps even expanding them there, talking a bit about your personal experience with apartheid. We'd happily promote that to find it even wider readership. 


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