Remembering Nelson Mandela: a difficult but heroic life, and a difficult death

South African president NELSON MANDELA visited Canada three times (1990, 1998 and 2001).  In the photos below Mr. Mandela addressed 40,000 young people at TORONTO’s SkyDome in 1998.  And on Saturday, November 17/2001, President Mandela and his wife Graca Machel attended a renaming ceremony for Nelson Mandela Park Public School, also in TORONTO.

Mr. Mandela is an Honourary Canadian Citizen.  In 1998 he became the first foreign leader awarded the Order of Canada, our nation’s highest honour.  <Canadian Press photos>

South African President Nelson Mandela a
NELSONMANDELA2

ON THE DEATH OF NELSON MANDELA – FROM A FRIEND IN JOHANNESBURG
“It is only now, the following morning, that South Africans are waking up to and hearing that he is no longer with us. It is the only news story of any significance this morning with prepared tributes dominating every radio and television channel across the country.

When a bit more than twenty years ago, this country stood on the brink of civil war, this one man, singlehandedly, was able to quell the raging fires of fear and anger, and unite us with a vision of what could be achieved if we allowed reason to prevail. Today, twenty odd years later, in the midst of all the political and ideological divisions and tensions in the runup to a general election, he has once again united all 50 million of us. It really is remarkable to hear the comments of bitter political rivals, who for the next few days at least, will forget their squabbling and petty differences and stand united in their admiration of this remarkable man.

Outside his home in one of Johannesburg’s northern suburbs, people are gathering – joggers on their early morning runs are bringing flowers, children on their way to school with their parents are bringing cards and in some cases just a single rose. People from across the entire, very wide spectrum of South African society are there – the wealthy, the poor, the old, the very young, black, white, brown and everything in between. In so many ways, South Africa remains a deeply divided country, but today we are united in our respect and admiration for this one man, without whom, many of us may not have been here.

I have no doubt that every detail of the state funeral was planned many months, or maybe even many years ago. The date has not yet been announced, but one can be sure that it is going to be a major event.
 Anyway, I thought you might be interested in my spontaneous comments on what it is like in South Africa on this special morning.” – ROBIN KNOX-GRANT, Johannesburg

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