NELSON MANDELA CELEBRATED FOR HIS COURAGE, HUMILITY
GLOBAL INSPIRATION IS GONE (AFP) — A smiling Nelson Mandela, the first black president of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, salutes well-wishers during his 85th birthday celebration in Johannesburg in this file photo taken on July 18, 2003. Mandela, a freedom fighter who inspired the world with his indomitable courage in the face of adversity, passed away peacefully after a long illness on Thursday.
ALSO: South Africans hold day of prayer for Mandela
The body of the man – the country’s first black president who forged a new multiracial South Africa – will lie in state at the Union Buildings, the seat of government, in the nation’s capital, Pretoria, from Wednesday to Friday, followed by his funeral and burial in the village where he spent his childhood in a remote rural part of the country next Sunday. Scores of foreign leaders and other luminaries are expected to travel to South Africa to honor Mandela. Among those who have already indicated that they will be coming to South Africa are US President Barack Obama and his two predecessors, George W, Bush and Bill Clinton. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will also travel to Johannesburg for the memorial service, the United Nations said late Saturday.
ALSO: Aquino recalls Mandela's words: 'You chose your parents well'
Aquino also recalled his personal experience of meeting Mandela. "On a more personal note, I recall with gratitude and humility the kind words he told me during his visit to the Philippines when I was still a Representative. He told me then, 'You chose your parents well.' My mother admired him; like all of us, she would have been deeply saddened by his passing," Aquino added.
Mandela celebrated for his courage, humility
JOHANNESBURG, DECEMBER 9, 2013(MANILA BULLETIN) Nelson Mandela, the man revered as the father of the South African nation, died Thursday, triggering an outpouring of sorrow in his homeland and high praise from world leaders, including Filipinos, for his legacy.
Mandela died peacefully surrounded by his family at his Johannesburg home, aged 95, South African President Jacob Zuma said.
“Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father. Although we knew that this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss,” said Zuma of the anti-apartheid icon.
Moment Of Deepest Sorrow
“This is indeed the moment of our deepest sorrow.”
Mandela, the country’s first black president, was considered the founding father of the democratic South Africa.
Zuma said the nation would “mourn the loss of the one person who, more than any other, came to embody their sense of a common nationhood.”
While tributes poured in, South Africans reacted by hailing Mandela and celebrating his life.
More than 100 people of all races gathered outside his home in Houghton. Some brought their children and many expressed their grief by singing national songs, lighting candles, and dancing.
They waved South African flags and erected a large television screen showing a photograph of Mandela.
Radio broadcasts filled with people calling in testimonials about what Mandela meant to them. Protest pop songs from the ‘80s featured in play lists.
Adam Alagiah, 26 of Johannesburg, said he was an inspiration and a legend to all people.
“I moved here in 1994 after apartheid,” Alagiah said.
“Firstly, he had it in him to forgive and secondly he stepped down from power after one term. These are things that no one else would do.”
In announcing Mandela’s death, Zuma recalled how Mandela’s “tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world.” His humility, his compassion, and his humanity earned him their love, said Zuma.
South African Broadcasting Association said Mandela’s body had been removed from his home and was en route to Pretoria where he will lie in state.
Mandela won the first democratic elections in 1994 and served for five years. Mandela largely retired from public life in 2004 and was last seen in public in 2010 when the World Cup was hosted by South Africa.
His health declined dramatically earlier this year and he was hospitalized in June for a lung infection and released in September.
A Strong Man
Ahmed Kathrada, a close friend and an anti-apartheid activist who served jail time with Mandela during the years of white minority rule, said the former president’s health had deteriorated significantly in recent months.
“I’ve known him for 67 years … and all my life I saw him as a strong man. When I saw him in hospital he was a shadow of himself,” Kathrada said to broadcaster eNCA.
In Washington, US President Barack Obama lauded Nelson Mandela as “one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth.”
The first black US president, who ordered that flags at US government buildings, ships at sea and installations be lowered at half staff through sunset on Monday, in a rare honor for a foreign leader, said his first political action as a youth had been an anti-apartheid protest.
“I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set, and so long as I live I will do what I can to learn from him.”
Former US president George HW Bush, who was in office when Mandela was released from prison in 1990, said he “watched in wonder” as Mandela forgave his jailers – “setting a powerful example of redemption and grace for us all.”
In the Philippines, Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a statement: “We grieve over the death of Nelson Mandela, a revered world leader, who led his nation and people to freedom by treading the path of peace.”
Healing Power Of Forgiveness
Vice President Jejomar Binay, in his statement, said Mandela “embodied the unconquerable spirit and the healing power of forgiveness (and) his life inspires us to strive for a world where freedom, equality, tolerance and understanding reign.”
Senate President Franklin Drilon himself led his colleagues in commending the democracy icon, saying the world lost a man who had served as a potent symbol for honor, peace, courage, and magnanimity throughout his life.
Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco said the world will always remember Mandela whom he described as a man of passion and unselfish commitment in his fight for freedom, who “left a beautiful legacy.”
Symbol For All Of Humanity
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, on the second day of a visit to China, told reporters in Beijing all French flags will be flown at half-mast in tribute to Mandela whom he described as “a great man and symbol for all of humanity.”
Mandela joined the African National Congress party in 1943 and later helped set up the ANC’s military wing. His role in the struggle against apartheid led to his long imprisonment.
ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe said Mandela loved the ANC and recalled how he frequently said that upon death he would join the nearest branch of the ANC in heaven.
Fight For A Just South Africa
At his trial Mandela insisted his struggle against apartheid was a fight for a just South Africa without racism.
“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities,” he said from the dock.
Generosity Of Spirit
George Bizos, one of Mandela’s defense lawyers, told broadcaster eNCA that Mandela would go down in history as the person who set an example that fundamental differences between people can be solved without violence if there is a “generosity of spirit” on both sides.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mandela’s political rival Frederik Willem de Klerk issued statements paying homage to Mandela.
“Nelson Mandela embodied and reflected our collective greatness,” Tutu said. “He embodied our hopes and our dreams.”
De Klerk, predecessor as South African president and with whom he shared the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, said it was an honor to work with him.
“Although we were political opponents, and although our relationship was often stormy, we were always able to come together at critical moments to resolve the many crises that arose during the negotiation process,” de Klerk said. (With additional reports from MB wires, Genalyn D. Kabiling, JC Bello Ruiz, Hannah L. Torregoza, and Leslie Ann G. Aquino)
FROM TH PHILSTAR
South Africans hold day of prayer for Mandela By Associated Press (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 9, 2013 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0
JOHANNESBURG – South Africans flocked to houses of worship for a national day of prayer and reflection to honor former President Nelson Mandela, starting planned events that will culminate in what is expected to be one of the biggest funerals in modern times.
At the famous Regina Mundi Church that was near the epicenter of the Soweto 1976 against white rule, Father Sebastian J. Rossouw described Mandela as “moonlight,” saying he offered a guiding light for South Africa. Hundreds of people attended mass in the small church that still bears the scars of the conflict.
“Madiba did not doubt the light,” Rossouw said. “He paved the way for a better future, but he cannot do it alone.”
During the service, worshippers offered special prayers for the anti-apartheid leader and lit a candle in his honor in front of the altar. Off to the side of the sanctuary was a black and white photo of Mandela, who died Thursday at age 95.
A national memorial service will be held at a Johannesburg stadium on Tuesday.
The body of the man – the country’s first black president who forged a new multiracial South Africa – will lie in state at the Union Buildings, the seat of government, in the nation’s capital, Pretoria, from Wednesday to Friday, followed by his funeral and burial in the village where he spent his childhood in a remote rural part of the country next Sunday.
Scores of foreign leaders and other luminaries are expected to travel to South Africa to honor Mandela.
Among those who have already indicated that they will be coming to South Africa are US President Barack Obama and his two predecessors, George W, Bush and Bill Clinton.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will also travel to Johannesburg for the memorial service, the United Nations said late Saturday.
Aquino recalls Mandela's words: 'You chose your parents well' BY NATASHYA GUTIERREZ POSTED ON 12/06/2013 3:26 PM | UPDATED 12/06/2013 3:42 PM
WIT AND HUMOR. Former South African President Nelson Mandela. File photo by Rodger Bosch/AFP
MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III joined the world in mourning the death of anti-apartheid hero and global peace icon Nelson Mandela, praising him as "an exemplar of conscientious resistance to racism, and exponent of reconciliation founded on justice."
In a statement released on Friday, December 6, Aquino extended his "deepest condolences" to Mandela's family, the South African people, "and all men and women of peace and goodwill who mourn the passing of a truly great man," on behalf of the Filipino people.
"For today, as Nelson Mandela united his people in the spirit of compassion and inclusiveness, so too does he unite the rest of the world-- not only in grief and mourning, but also in respect and admiration for a life lived with strength, courage, humility, and dignity," he said.
"His memory will serve as a durable guide to humanity as we seek to bequeath to future generations a world better than we found it."
Aquino also recalled his personal experience of meeting Mandela.
"On a more personal note, I recall with gratitude and humility the kind words he told me during his visit to the Philippines when I was still a Representative. He told me then, 'You chose your parents well.' My mother admired him; like all of us, she would have been deeply saddened by his passing," he said.
In March 1997, then President Mandela visited the Philippines and paid tribute to Aquino's mother, former President Corazon Aquino and for her struggle to fight for the Filipino people's freedom. He also praised the restoration of democracy in the Philippines.
Mandela was conferred an honorary doctorate degree by the University of the Philippines.
The 95-year-old Nobel Peace Prize awardee, who was elected South Africa's first black president after spending nearly 3 decades in prison, died from complications of a lung infection on Friday morning, with his family by his side.
News of his death triggered worldwide grief and a chorus of respect and gratitude for his contributions to society, specifically his fight to end apartheid.
'A beacon of hope'
Aquino hailed Mandela's life as making people "cognizant of those who have suffered persecution, yet refused to allow it to plunge their lives into bitterness or vengeance."
"Nelson Mandela sought to unite his people on the basis of humane aspirations for a just society. He achieved closure through justice, banishing recrimination and hate," he said.
"Above all, he acted out of the desire to uplift his fellow men and women by empowering the aggrieved to rise above hardship—guiding his nation through the crucible of suffering to forge ordinary men and women into peacemakers, freedom fighters, and even statesmen."
Aquino also cited Mandela's "unflagging optimism" that harmony can exist in place of prejudice, which he said is "a beacon of hope for all humanity."
"We must now all take comfort from the fact that a great man is now at peace, with the Filipino people and all humanity heirs to his example and vision," he said. - Rappler.com
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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