Tag Archives | Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela Fights For His Life…Again!

Nelson Mandela 1998 croppedNelson Mandela is fighting for his life again—his third hospitalization in four months as the world looks on with silent prayers. The media attention he is receiving speaks to the respect with which he is held, even though most of the coverage points more to his age than the fact that the respiratory condition he has was contracted under brutal prison conditions and he clearly, even now, is a victim of the apartheid system he battled into submission.

The world media is pumped by another deathwatch. In South Africa, Madiba, as he is known by his clan name, is called a “FBR”—the Freelancers Best Friend—because of all the work the around the clock coverage his condition inspires. At the BBC in London, striking staffers ay they will return to work to cover his death.

When he and his comrades arrived on South Africa’s draconian Robben Island, he was the 466th to be incarcerated in 1964.… Read the rest

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Warning: South Africa Is An Angry And Frustrated Nation And On The Brink

DurbanSign1989Durban, South Africa: These are not the best of times in South Africa. It seems clear that there is fear and loathing everywhere as the press is packed with fresh allegations of corruption, and a restive mood spreads even as the country prepares to host the economic Summit of the BRICS countries it is part of–Brazil, Russia, India, and China which is facing a growth in joblessness and economic/political malaise.

Nelson Mandela’s wife, Graca Machel, the brilliant Mozambican leader who married the man everyone here calls by his clan name Madiba, is speaking out even as her husband Nelson Mandela no longer can because of age and infirmity.

She calls South Africa an “angry nation… on the brink of ‘something very dangerous’. She was speaking at a memorial for a Mozambican cab driver whose killing by the police was caught on a cellphone camera and went viral. The police deny they were brutal, despite the video, which further outrages a country that seems to be increasingly turning on the politicians they see as plundering its resources.… Read the rest

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Prisoner of Mandela

Cape Town, South Africa:  Nelson Mandela was released from prison 22 years ago. He has been “free” ever since. At the same time, I sometimes feel as if I became his prisoner—imprisoned by the work I have been doing enthusiastically in service to the struggle he led ever since the mid 1960’s.

I don’t blame him, of course, and he can’t release me the way he was released on that sunny afternoon of February 11,1990 while the whole world cheered.

I was cheering, too, in the darkness of a TV edit room far away in New York. We were working on a prime time documentary that would air a day later about “the day.” It was called FREE AT LAST.

My “incarceration” on the issue was well along by then. I had first visited South Africa in l967 when I was 25, a civil rights activist and soon an anti-apartheid militant.… Read the rest

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As The World Marks International Mandela Day, Mandela’s Legacy Is Debated: Which Narrative Will Prevail?

Nelson_MandelaAt 94, Nelson Mandela is still kicking, inspiring an international day of community service on Juy 18th in his name. This seems to be an idea that Barack Obama borrowed for similar events in the USA.

While activists, athletes and entertainers are honoring him by responding to his call for engagement, journalists in the obit departments of the world’s news networks are quietly, even secretly, combing their archives for footage and tributes that will air when he moves on to the next world.  They are getting ready and seem to think it will happen sooner rather than later.

I have already seen a program length obit that a major network has ready to go.

Barring some major disaster at the same time, Mandela’s death may receive more visibility than the achievements of his long life.

The question is: which Mandela will be memorialized? Will it be he leader who built a movement and a military organization to fight injustice or a man of inspiration with a great smile who we admire because of the many years he suffered behind bars?… Read the rest

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Mandela Releases A New Book Of Quotations As He Turns 93

Mandela_AuthQuotes_cover1Nelson Mandela, icon-hero of the world, turns 93 this month. He is hanging on despite family tragedies that claimed another great-grandchild in June. The child was born premature and died after just four days.

The man known by his clan name, Madiba, still evokes wonder and admiration and almost god-like reverence, with airport stores selling “We Love Mandela” posters and T-shirts. He is the one South African that most of South Africans take pride in, including the older generation that first knew him as an apartheid government designated terrorist.

He was so feared that his picture could not be shown in the media and his words could not be quoted for 27 years.

Ironically, all these years later he has released a book of authorized quotations (‘By himself”) that cull his thoughts from a life time of public and private utterances in letters, private papers, audio recordings and from generations of speechifying.… Read the rest

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