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Saturday, December 7, 2013


Nelson Mandela 1918-2013




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JOHANNESBURG—Nelson Mandela ducked out of an arranged marriage when he was a student, then went on to wed three times. His first two marriages collapsed under the strain of politics, but the third time around he found enduring happiness with the widow of Mozambican president Samora Machel. In sharp contrast to Graca Machel and his feisty second wife, Winnie, Mandela’s first wife was a demure country girl who kept well away from politics. Like him, Evelyn Wase hailed from the rural Transkei and had come to Johannesburg in the early 1940s to carve out a living in the big city. She was the cousin of African National Congress (ANC) stalwart Walter Sisulu and met Mandela in Sisulu’s home in Soweto, southwest of Johannesburg, in 1944. They married months later, in the same year that Mandela, Sisulu and Oliver Tambo formed the ANC’s Youth League and politics of struggle against white minority rule came to consume his life. Descriptions of their first years tell of Evelyn as the happy housewife with Mandela bathing their three babies and helping with the cooking when his work at his law practice and political meetings were done. But by 1954, Evelyn had buried herself in religion like her husband had in politics and bitterly resented his absences. When Mandela was arrested for treason the first time, he came home on bail to find Evelyn had gone, leaving behind their two youngest children. She returned to the Transkei, ran a shop and remarried in her seventies. Winnie came into Mandela’s life at the start of a second treason trial, which would see him jailed for 27 years, and they married in June 1958. She too came from the country, but took to the city, and once she met Mandela, also dived into politics with alacrity. Soon after their wedding she was arrested for an incendiary speech, leading Mandela to remark—proudly and prophetically—”I think I married trouble.” The couple had two daughters before the prison doors slammed behind Mandela in 1964. In the coming years Winnie would be in and out of jail as the police hounded her in a bid to demoralize him. In 1969, she was held in solitary confin-

Nelson andhis 3wives

ement for 13 months on terrorism charges and in 1973 endured another six months in jail, but when the 1976 student riot revolt broke out in Soweto, Winnie was unbowed, urging crowds to “fight to the bitter end.” The police saw her as a mastermind of the uprising. She was locked up for five months, then banished to the desolate town of Brandfort for seven years. When she returned to Soweto, the firebrand militant-martyr became a liability for Mandela and the antiapartheid movement. In 1986, at a time when suspected traitors were being burned alive in the volatile townships, Winnie declared that South African blacks would be freed “with our matchboxes.” She surrounded herself with a band of thugs christened the Mandela United Football Club who murdered a young activist called Stompie Sepei. Her bond with Mandela had endured through letters and visits to prison and when he was released in 1990, Winnie was there holding his hand, but in private she rejected him for a young lover. Mandela stood by her when she was convicted for kidnapping Sepei and only in 1992 announced their separation. Winnie’s six-year sentence was suspended on appeal and in 1994 she was appointed a deputy minister in his government, but was later sacked for insubordination. By the mid-’90s, Mandela was courting Graca Machel—a serious but warm woman 27 years younger than him who studied in Lisbon before she became a freedom fighter for Samora Machel’s Frelimo movement, and eventually Machel’s education minister and wife.


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Mandelaquotes “I am fundamentallyan optimist. Whetherthatcomes from nature ornurture, I cannotsay. Partofbeing optimistic is keepingone’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feetmovingforward. There were manydark moments when myfaith in humanitywas sorelytested, butI would notand could notgive myselfup to despair. Thatwaylays defeatand death.” —Long Walkto Freedom: The Autobiography ofNelson Mandela

“No, no, no, everythingis allright. I have regularmedical check-ups and theysayI won’tdie this week.” —Larry King Live, May 16, 2000


“Aleader. . .is like ashepherd. He stays behind the flock, lettingthe mostnimble go outahead, whereupon the others follow, notrealizingthatallalongtheyare being directed from behind.” —Long Walkto Freedom: The Autobiography ofNelson Mandela

“Itis betterto lead from behind and to putothers in front, especiallywhen you celebrate victorywhen nice things occur. You take the frontline when there is danger. Then people willappreciate yourleadership.” “Itcan be said thatthere are fourbasic and primary things thatthe mass ofpeople in asocietywish for: to live in asafe environment, to be able to workand provide forthemselves, to have access to good public health and to have sound educationalopportunities for theirchildren.” —Speech at opening ofOprah Winfrey Leadership Academy, January 2, 2007

“Acritical, independentand investigative press is the lifeblood ofanydemocracy. The press mustbe free from state interference. Itmusthave the economic strength to stand up to the blandishments ofgovernment officials. Itmusthave sufficientindependence from vested interests to be bold and inquiringwithoutfearor favour. Itmustenjoythe protection ofthe constitution, so thatitcan protectourrights as citizens.” —International Press Institute Congress, 1994

“Forto be free is notmerelyto castoffone’s chains, but to live in awaythatrespects and enhances the freedom ofothers.” —Long Walkto Freedom: The Autobiography ofNelson Mandela

“No one is born hatinganotherperson because ofthe colorofhis skin, orhis background, orhis religion. People mustlearn to hate, and iftheycan learn to hate, theycan be taughtto love, forlove comes more naturally to the human heartthan its opposite.” —Long Walkto Freedom: The Autobiography ofNelson Mandela

“I have walked thatlongroad to freedom. I have tried notto falter; I have made missteps alongthe way. ButI have discovered the secretthatafterclimbingagreat hill, one onlyfinds thatthere are manymore hills to climb. I have taken amoment” “The greatestgloryin livinglies notin neverfalling, but in risingeverytime we fall.” “Difficulties breaksome men butmake others. No axe is sharp enough to cutthe soulofasinnerwho keeps on trying, one armed with the hope thathe willrise even in the end.” —From a letterto Winnie Mandela, 1975 “Italways seems impossible untilit’s done.” “I learned thatcourage was notthe absence offear, but the triumph overit. The brave man is nothe who does notfeelafraid, buthe who conquers thatfear.” “Ifyou wantto make peace with yourenemy, you have to

TWO ICONSRESTED FORTHEAGES Corazon Aquino and Nelson Mandela Philippine Daily Inquirer It was during his historic visit to ned the Malacañang guest book. about details of his love life than Manila 16 years ago that the world More cameras clicked as the two finding out about trade prospects first confirmed talk going around emerged at the reception hall between the two countries and that Nelson Mandela was in love. holding hands. other aspects of Philippines-South For it was the first time that the The public display of affection African ties. former South African president prompted journalists to pop the Mandela and Machel were matook with him his special friend personal question—usually a no-no rried on July 18, 1998. His previGraça Machel on a state visit as his for visiting dignitaries. ous marriage to Winnie Madik“official companion.” izela, a South African politician, The romance with Machel nearly LOVE LIFE ended in a divorce in 1996. stole the show from the signi- In Mandela’s joint press confe- Though Mandela’s love life titificance and euphoria of the visit rence with Ramos, Malaya repor- llated romantic Filipinos, it was for by Mandela, the revered antiapar- ter Ellen Tordesillas asked if wed- so much more than that his visit theid hero and the first South A- ding bells were to ring soon for was highly anticipated. frican president to visit the Philip- Mandela. pines. Not hearing the question quite TOWERING FIGURE When Mandela arrived to a 21- well at first, Mandela laughed wh- For here in the flesh was one of the gun salute in Malacañang on en he realized that the question towering figures of the 20th cenMarch 1, 1997, he introduced Mac- was not about affairs of the state. tury—a human rights lawyer and hel to then President Fidel V. Ra- But Ramos clapped, appearing to 1993 Nobel Peace Prize winner, mos, his Cabinet and some diplo- have given his consent to the jailed for 27 years during the mats as his official companion, eli- query. years of white supremacy rule in citing smiles, if not teasing, from “Well my cultural background South Africa, who steered his couthose in the reception line. does not permit me to answer this ntry out of apartheid to become its Since she was not yet officially question with people young eno- first black president in an all-race Mrs. Mandela, Malacañang ob- ugh to be my children or grandch- election in 1994. served protocol by not having First ildren,” Mandela replied skillfully. Tall and dapper in a black suit he Lady Amelita Ramos around for When Mandela was conferred an wore for his Malacañang visit (he the occasion. honorary degree of doctor of laws donned the traditional Madiba Machel, widow of Mozambique at the University of the Philip- shirt for other events), Mandela President Samora Machel, quietly pines the next day, journalists we- might have taught Filipino politistood by Mandela’s side as he sig- re more interested in asking him cians a thing or two about

MANILA: ELLRING? Apart from holding talks with Ramos and a private meeting with Ramos’ predecessor, Aquino, Mandela went to UP to receive his honorary degree from then UP president Emil Javier and then Education Secretary Ricardo Gloria. There he met with former Huk Supremo Luis Taruc whose story supposedly inspired Mandela. Mandela, 78 at the time of his visit, appeared strong although he was slightly limping from a knee injury that caused the postponement of his trip the year before. Manila was the first stop in his Asian tour which included Brunei, Singapore and Malaysia. Among those who welcomed Mandela were then Vice President Joseph Estrada and Ramos’ Foreign Secretary Domingo Siazon, his Armed Forces chief of staff Arnulfo Acedera and Air Force chief William Hotchkiss, as well as then Senate President Ernesto Maceda and Speaker Jose de Venecia. Maceda noted how simpatico (congenial) Mandela was, an observation shared by Palace reporters who covered the visit. Though he had disarmed Filipinos with his charm and demeanor, Mandela, in fact paid homage to the Philippines. ‘PEOPLE POWER’




Madiba:A masterof forgiveness

Nelson Mandela was a master of forgiveness. South Africa’s first black president spent nearly a third of his life as a prisoner of apartheid, yet he sought to win over its defeated guardians in a relatively peaceful transition of power that inspired the world. As head of state, the former boxer, lawyer and inmate lunched with the prosecutor who argued successfully for his incarceration. He sang the apartheid-era Afrikaans anthem at his inauguration and traveled hundreds of kilometers to have tea with the widow of the prime minister in power at the time he was sent to prison. It was this generosity of spirit that made Mandela, who died on Thursday at the age of 95, a global symbol of sacrifice and reconciliation in a world often jarred by conflict and division. Mandela’s stature as a fighter against apartheid—the system of white racist rule he called evil — and a seeker of peace with his enemies was on a par with that of other men he admired: American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. and Indian independence leader Mohandas K. Gandhi, both of whom were assassinated while actively engaged in their callings. Mandela’s death deprived the world of one of the great figures of modern history and set the stage for days of mourning and reflection about a colossus of the 20th century who projected astonishing grace, resolve and good humor. Dressed in black, South African President Jacob Zuma made the announcement on television. He said Mandela died “peacefully,” surrounded by family, at around 8:50 p.m. “We’ve lost our greatest son. Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father,” Zuma said. “Although we knew that this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss.”

are concerned,” he said, adding there were many others in his country who were “heads and shoulders above me in abilities.” Ramos hailed Mandela’s visit as special and extraordinary. “The struggle he led transformed not only his country but more importantly, the shape of racial relations throughout the world,” Ramos said.

humility in greatness. “Leaders, no matter how exceptional, are not indispensable,” Mandela remarked. It was a timely message for at that time, there were moves to amend the Philippine Constitution supposedly to lift the term limit on the President. Mandela had even asked former President Corazon Aquino if she was going to run in the 1 998 elections, to which she replied that she had no interest in doing so.


Mandela told his hosts the Philippines held a special spot in his heart ever since he heard about the country’s consistent opposition to South African apartheid policy. He said he came to know about this when the Southeast Asian Nations held a conference in Bandung, way before the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) was created. Since then, he said, he had closely followed developments here, including the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolt. “This is one of the countries that had been very successful in overcoming the legacy of colonialism, of poverty, of ignorance, and we stand to gain a great deal by associating with it,” Mandela said. In the Malacañang guest book, Mandela wrote: “Visiting the Republic of the Philippines is the fulfillment of a long and cherished dream. An unforgettable experience.”

The self-effacing freedom icon said South Africa was never worried about who would replace him as president, adding he never thought he had “exceptional qualities.” At the time of his Manila visit, he was two years away from completing his one term in 1999. “We had never been apprehensive about whether the stepping down of one man would lead to less delivery of whatever This was a report from the Philipdemands and needs of our people pine Daily Inquirer, Saturday Deand our relations with the world cember 7 2013

At times, Mandela embraced his iconic status, appearing before a rapturous crowd in London’s Wembley Stadium soon after his 1990 release from prison. Sometimes, he sought to play it down, uneasy about the perils of being put on a pedestal. In an unpublished manuscript, written while in prison, Mandela acknowledged that leaders of the antiapartheid movement dominated the spotlight, but said they were “only part of the story,” and every activist was “like a brick which makes up our organization.” He pondered the cost to his family of his dedication to the fight against the racist system of government that jailed him for 27 years and refused him permission to attend the funeral of his mother and of a son who was killed in a car crash. As president, he could not forge lasting solutions to poverty, unemplo-yment and other social ills that still plague today’s South Africa, which has struggled to live up to its rosy depiction as the “Rainbow Nation.”

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workwith yourenemy. Then he becomes yourpartner.” “I am notthe onlyone who did notwantrevenge. Almost allmycolleagues in prison did notwantrevenge, because there is no time to do anythingelse exceptto try and save yourpeople.” —Larry King Live, May 16, 2000 “I was called aterroristyesterday, butwhen I came out ofjail, manypeople embraced me, includingmy enemies, and thatis whatI normallytellotherpeople who saythose who are strugglingforliberation in their countryare terrorists. I tellthem thatI was also a terroristyesterday, but, today, I am admired bythe very people who said I was one.” —Larry King Live, May 16, 2000

“Like slaveryand apartheid, povertyis notnatural. Itis people who have made povertyand tolerated poverty, and itis people who willovercome it. And overcoming povertyis notagesture ofcharity. Itis an actofjustice. It is the protection ofafundamentalhuman right, the rightto dignityand adecentlife.” —Ambassadorof Conscience Award Acceptance Speech, November01, 2006

“While povertypersists, there is no true freedom.”

—AmbassadorofConscience Award Acceptance Speech, November01, 2006

“I have foughtagainstwhite domination, and I have foughtagainstblackdomination. I have cherished the idealofademocratic and free societyin which all persons live togetherin harmonyand with equal opportunities. Itis an idealwhich I hope to live forand to achieve. Butifneeds be, itis an idealforwhich I am prepared to die.” —Rivonia trial, 1964 “IfI had mytime overI would do the same again. So would anyman who dares callhimselfaman.” —Pretoria, South Africa 1962

“Man’s goodness is aflame thatcan be hidden butnever extinguished” “Agood head and agood heartare always aformidable combination.” “Itis nevermycustom to use words lightly. Iftwentyseven years in prison have done anythingto us, itwas to use the silence ofsolitude to make us understand how precious words are and howrealspeech is in its impact on the waypeople live and die.” —International AIDS conference, 2000

“There is nothinglike returningto aplace thatremains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourselfhave altered.” “Longspeeches, the shakingoffists, the bangingof tables and stronglyworded resolutions outoftouch with the objective conditions do notbringaboutmass action and can do agreatdealofharm to the organisation and the struggle we serve.” —Presidential adress to the ANC Transvaal Congress, 1953

“Education is the mostpowerfulweapon which you can use to change the world.” “When the historyofourtimes is written, willwe be remembered as the generation thatturned ourbacks in amomentofglobalcrisis orwillitbe recorded thatwe did the rightthing?” —Tromso, Norway, 2005 “Itis nowin the hands ofyourgenerations to help rid the world ofsuch suffering.” 90th Birthday Gathering, June 25, 2008


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Thenitwitsinthe Senateshouldstop What was it the two let slip in their respective privilege speeches? From Enrile came stuff like “deranged,” “cuckoo,” “obsessive hater,” “inane,” and “walang asim.” Santiago, who built her name partly on her facility for colorful patois, descended to the same gutter with words like “sick,” “asshole,” “a cowering mouse,” “incorrigible liar and criminal,” and “psychopathic hypersexualized serial womanizer.” Aren't the senators knowing that they should be the role model in using classy behaviour? Both of the senators are like a cat and a dog, and even take note that Enrile is playing a sucking computer game while someone is talking. Isn't listening while someone is talking a must for a senator like him? Many consider this brawl an absolute waste of time and of taxpayer money. Perhaps it is—but only if the rest of the senators see it as no more than an entertaining sideshow, and would rather give their two colleagues wide berth to continue flinging mud at each other. Mrs Santiago have entered Mr Enrile's private life to debate on the fray. Serious charges were thrown out, without even any connection to the pork barrel scum! Again, for Mr Enrile, should this be brushed aside by your "brain therapy" thing? Would his colleagues even think of investigating the old lad? For example, Sen. Tito Sotto said, that he would move to have the most extreme of Santiago and Enrile’s words struck off the records because these are ruining the chamber’s image. That was coming from a legislator who made the Senate stupid by plagiarizing parts of his speech, worse, going on the counterattack when found out, and even enlisting the help of his colleagues to defend his low behavior. To regain the trust we gave to you, stop babbling about nonsense. Get to work!


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The OLW Sun December 7 2013