Madiba….. A Life That Will Never Be Forgotten


Rolihlahla Mandela, the son of a Thembu tribal chief, was born in Mvezo, in South Africa’s Eastern Cape on 18 July 1918. He was the first of his family to go to school. It was there he received the name Nelson – it was customary for school children to be given English names. In 1941, he fled to Johannesburg to avoid an arranged marriage. He met Walter Sisulu who helped him get work at law firm Witkin Sidelsky. Mr Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1944.


Mr Mandela qualified as a lawyer and in 1952 set up the country’s first black law firm with Oliver Tambo.
Fearing a ban by the apartheid government, the ANC asked Mr Mandela to make plans to ensure the party could work underground.
He was arrested in 1956 and charged with treason along with 155 others. The trial lasted four-and-a-half-years, and ended with his being acquitted. In 1958, he married his second wife, Winnie Madikizela.


South African anti-apartheid leader and



After police killed 69 protesters in Sharpeville in March 1960, the government feared retaliation, so it declared a state of emergency and then banned the ANC. The organisation formed a military wing, led by Mr Mandela.
In 1962, Mr Mandela was arrested and tried for leaving the country illegally. In 1963, while in prison, he was charged with sabotage. He and seven others were sentenced to life in 1964 and jailed on Robben Island.



Dire Straits and Eric Clapton at Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday tribute



The international community started to tighten sanctions which had been first imposed on the apartheid regime in 1967. By 1990, the pressure led to President FW de Klerk lifting the ban on the ANC.
On 11 February 1990, Mr Mandela was freed after 27 years in prison. Crowds cheered as he and his wife Winnie left the prison grounds. The next year, Mr Mandela was elected ANC president at the party’s first national conference. Talks began on forming a new, multi-racial democracy.

Nelson Mandela- Photographs by David Turnley


Mandela is greeted by Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the Cape Town City Hall, among the first group of people that Mandela celebrated with after his release.

Nelson Mandela After His Release


Archbishop Desmond Tutu leads Mandela through the neighborhood in Soweto where Mandela lived before going to prison — the same neighborhood home to Archbishop Tutu — on the first day of his release from prison.



Nelson Mandela shares his first meal at the Mandela home in Soweto with his family and fellow inmate of 27 years, Walter Sisulu. The man pouring champagne, Cyril Ramaphosa, who many believe could be the next President of South Africa.

Nelson Mandela- Photographs by David Turnley


The morning after Mandela’s release from prison, he returned to his one-bedroom, cinder-block home that only recently had indoor plumbing, where he and Winnie had started their life with two daughters 27 years earlier, Zinzi and Zni.

South Africans Celebrate Mandela's Release


Madiba sits in the backyard in front of the international press corps with his beloved wife, Winnie, the day after his release from prison.

Nelson Mandela- Photographs by David Turnley


Sitting with Walter Sisulu, who had spent 27 years in prison with Mandela, just minutes after his release, they confer seconds before Mandela made his first public speech to the world.



Following his release, Mr Mandela visited many countries and met world leaders as he prepared to stand for election as president. He is seen here at South Africa House in London, where round the clock anti-apartheid protests took place.




In 1993, Mr Mandela and South African President FW De Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for efforts to bring stability to South Africa. The Nobel Committee said both men had made “a brilliant contribution to peace”.
Accepting the award, Mr Mandela said: “We will do what we can to contribute to the renewal of our world.”

Nelson Mandela | 1993


Following Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, he circulated through the country. Everywhere he went, millions of South Africans came out to celebrate their leader and to support him in his quest to become the first President of a democratic South Africa. 1993.

Nelson Mandela- Photographs by David Turnley


Nelson Mandela- Photographs by David Turnley


South Africa’s first democratic elections were held on 27 April 1994. Black South Africans formed long queues to cast their ballots for the first time. The ANC won a landslide and Nelson Mandela became the first black president.


In 1994, for the first time in South Africa’s history, people from all races voted in democratic elections. The ANC won and Mr Mandela became president. He told crowds at his inauguration on 10 May, 1994: “Let freedom reign, God bless Africa!”
His deputy, Thabo Mbeki, took over the day-to-day running of government, leaving Mr Mandela free to promote the country abroad.



To mark the fifth anniversary of his release, Mr Mandela visited the prison on Robben Island where he had spent 18 years in captivity. Mr Mandela made the visit in February 1995 with other former prisoners who had served time on the island, where many were forced to perform hard labour.




For those familiar with the movie Invictus, in real life, these are the two sons of the 1996 South African World Cup Rugby champion’s captain, Francois Pienaar.


Sitting on his lap, the boy on the right asked innocently, “Madiba, how could they have put you in prison for 27 years when you didn’t steal anything?” Madiba responded, “Sweetheart, I did steal something. I stole freedom for our people.”


Mr Mandela served just a single term as president and in 1999 became one of the few African leaders to stand down voluntarily. Thabo Mbeki, was given the almost impossible task of succeeding Mr Mandela as leader of both South Africa and the ANC.



Mr Mandela stepped down as ANC president in 1997 and his successor Thabo Mbeki led the party to victory at the polls in 1999.
On his 80th birthday, Mr Mandela married his third wife Graca Machel. He became South Africa’s highest-profile ambassador, campaigning against HIV/Aids and helping secure the 2010 football World Cup. He announced his retirement from public life in 2004. Joking with reporters, he said: “Don’t call me, I’ll call you.”




Nelson Mandela visits the mud rondavel in which he was raised as a child in the rural Transkei. In his years following his Presidency, he moved back to this area that represented for him his roots and his love for the beauty of his South African land. With his classic charm and a smile on his face, he remarked upon exiting the dwelling that he had become a man in this rondavel.

Nelson Mandela- Photographs by David Turnley


Mandela sits with his new wife, Graca Machel, in their home outside Qunu, in the Transkei where Mandela was raised. 2007.

Nelson Mandela- Photographs by David Turnley


Musicians, film stars and politicians joined Mr Mandela at a concert in London’s Hyde Park in 2008 to celebrate his 90th birthday.

Speaking to the crowd, he said: “It is time for new hands to lift the burdens, it is in your hands now.”




The former president made few public appearances after his 90th birthday, although he appeared at the closing ceremony of the 2010 football World Cup, hosted by South Africa.


In January 2011, Mr Mandela was admitted to hospital with a respiratory infection and he suffered repeated infections over the next two years. His lungs are said to have been damaged when he worked in a prison quarry. He died at home on 5 December 2013.







R.I.P Madiba

122 Responses to “Madiba….. A Life That Will Never Be Forgotten”

  1. 1 desertflower
    December 7, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    TY, LP:)

  2. December 7, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    An absolutely stunning post LP, can never thank you enough.

    • December 7, 2013 at 3:18 pm

      My pleasure, Chips! I hope I captured the essence of the extraordinary man, and laid out the journey he travelled in a respectable fashion. Thank you TOD for all the kind words as well….

      • December 7, 2013 at 3:53 pm

        You captured his essence beautifully, LP.

        • 6 nathkatun7
          December 7, 2013 at 4:56 pm

          “I hope I captured the essence of the extraordinary man, and laid out the journey he travelled in a respectable fashion.”

          Yes, you did, LP! Thank you so much for this fantastic labor of love and respect for this “extraordinary man.”

  3. 7 Dudette
    December 7, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Stunning Post LP! Bravo!

  4. 8 Dudette
    December 7, 2013 at 2:45 pm

  5. 9 susanne
    December 7, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    extraordinary post lp. beautiful tribute.

  6. 10 desertflower
    December 7, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Off to tutor, but I can’t tell you all enough how grateful I am for this place. It is my sanity, my classroom, my refuge.

  7. 14 hopefruit2
    December 7, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    WOW- thanks LP for such a fantastic tribute. Bravo!! 🙂

  8. December 7, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Very, very well done, LP. Grateful for all the effort you’ve made to assemble this tribute to President Mandela. Thank you.

  9. 16 carolyn
    December 7, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Beautiful post! Historical and shows the humanity of the man. I always believe one can tell about a person from the eyes. Look at Mandela’s eyes…..they are kind, and loving. That speaks volumes to me.
    My parents visited So. Afr in 1970…….they said it was absolutely a beautiful country, and that the singing was better than any they had EVER heard. My mother, who had a beautiful voice herself, would just shake her head when she talked about the singing, and say: “I didn’t think there could be music like that this side of heaven.”

  10. 17 Dudette
    December 7, 2013 at 2:51 pm

  11. 18 Dudette
    December 7, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Okay, could somebody clarify: Is PBO attending the big stadium memorial for Madiba on Dec 10, the funeral on Dec 15 or both?

    • 19 theo67
      December 7, 2013 at 4:07 pm

      I haven’t heard details on which event he’s attending. But, I think I heard on BBC that the Queen will be travelling on Friday.

  12. 20 GGAIL
    December 7, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    LP well done!
    Now I must read every word slowly.

  13. 22 hopefruit2
    December 7, 2013 at 3:15 pm

  14. 26 utaustinliberal
    December 7, 2013 at 3:23 pm


  15. 27 Dudette
    December 7, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Can’t find this on whitehouse.gov, so you know…

  16. 28 Nena20409
    December 7, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Fantastic LP. Brilliant. Unbeatable.

    Thank you.

  17. 29 HZ
    December 7, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    So gracefully and elegantly done, LP. Thank you so much.

    What a loving memory of a soul that housed so much of the greatness of what a loving human being can do to gather the world’s attention to seek and do the right thing to bring about freedom to all people. May his soul rest in complete joyous peace.HZ

  18. 30 Dudette
    December 7, 2013 at 3:31 pm

  19. 31 Dudette
    December 7, 2013 at 3:35 pm

  20. 33 Dudette
    December 7, 2013 at 3:38 pm

  21. 34 Vicki
    December 7, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Just finished watching President Obama at the Saban Forum and I think he made some news. If I got it correctly it seems there is a framework being put in place for a deal with The West Bank that does not include Gaza.
    The idea seems to be that success in the West Bank will lead the citizens of Gaza to seek a deal as well, eventually.

    There have been rumors of US State Dept. asking about 50 hotel rooms in Jerusalem for January. I have no idea if an agreement between Israelis and Palestinians is even a remote possibility but it sure would be wonderful.

    • December 7, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      That’s interesting.

      Let’s face it, Gaza and the West Bank are two separate entities. And the WB is definitely the more stable one. If a state can be successfully created on the Jordan, it might just dim the prospects of Hamas.

    • 36 Dudette
      December 7, 2013 at 4:24 pm

      Anyone taking any bets on whether we’ll see this in the US MSM?

    • December 7, 2013 at 6:15 pm

      Yes, he did Vicki. That segment jumped right off the monitor. And, the context that he elucidated – motivating the young in Gaza based on their perceiving robust economic improvement in a West Bank State of Palestine – is particularly important and consistent with PBO’s message of the vital importance of the next generation shaping its destiny rather than having it dictated to them.


  22. 40 Dudette
    December 7, 2013 at 3:47 pm

  23. 41 utaustinliberal
    December 7, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    This is AMAZING and blow your mind AWESOME. Whenever a white person tells another white person or minorities that minorities can be reverse racists or practice reverse racism to white people, this should be your (whether you’re white or not) response. BOOM!

  24. 45 Dudette
    December 7, 2013 at 3:54 pm

  25. 48 Dudette
    December 7, 2013 at 4:00 pm

  26. 49 Dudette
    December 7, 2013 at 4:04 pm

  27. 51 Dudette
    December 7, 2013 at 4:05 pm

  28. 52 Dudette
    December 7, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    • 53 nathkatun7
      December 7, 2013 at 5:30 pm

      Thanks Dudette for sharing Bishop Tutu’s wonderful tribute to Nelson Mandela. Bishop Desmond Tutu is another great human being whose courage and love of humanity should inspire all of us.

  29. 56 Nena20409
    December 7, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    So now Cornel West is warning about Santa Claus-ification of Madiba?

    How about If West would stop pim.ping himself before every Camera? Who died and made him King?

    Even Brutus was not this crude about Cesar. Brutus went for Cesar’s funeral.

    • 57 ERICFIVE
      December 7, 2013 at 6:16 pm

      Let him keep talking. The more he talks the more buffoonish he appears. He seems to have a serious problem with successful and beloved Black leaders. Take solace that he is selling his soul (if he has one) for pennies.

  30. 59 Dudette
    December 7, 2013 at 4:37 pm

  31. 61 Linda
    December 7, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Karen Finney has Ron Fournier on to talk about Detroit pension because he is from there ?

    He wants to know why PBO is not doing anything about the pensions ?

    Shame on Karen…mute !

    • 62 hopefruit2
      December 7, 2013 at 4:59 pm

      Sorry I’m not watching MSNBC. Also, muting the TV does nothing to them. It keeps their ratings high as the TV just needs to be on the channel. To have an impact you need to change the channel or better yet just don’t watch MSNBC.

    • 63 Dudette
      December 7, 2013 at 5:40 pm

      I enjoyed her segment at the top of the show with Professor Berry (who I admire tremendously), but when I saw that Fournier guy… CLICK!

    • 64 Dudette
      December 7, 2013 at 5:46 pm

  32. 65 jackiegrumbacher
    December 7, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Beautiful, LP, just beautiful. You photos and story made Mandela’s journey so vivid. I can’t thank you enough.

  33. 66 hopefruit2
    December 7, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Tell Mark Knoller to start counting….

  34. 67 Linda
    December 7, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    cspan is showing the Saban Forum……

  35. 68 hopefruit2
    December 7, 2013 at 5:22 pm

  36. 69 Linda
    December 7, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is bringing a former top aide with deep ties to Congress back to the White House to help get his health care overhaul back on track after a bungled rollout.

    Officials say Phil Schiliro, who as Obama’s top liaison to Capitol Hill helped push the Affordable Care Act through Congress, is taking on a short-term assignment to help coordinate policy surrounding the law.

    He’ll work with the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, other agencies and members of Congress.

  37. 70 PoliticalJunkessa
    December 7, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    You have OUTDONE YOURSELF this time, LovelyPlains! Thank you for this comprehensive post.

  38. 71 hopefruit2
    December 7, 2013 at 5:36 pm

  39. 72 hopefruit2
    December 7, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Nelson Mandela death: Irish strikers to attend funeral

    // Irish supermarket workers who went on strike to force a ban on produce from apartheid-era South Africa are set to attend Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

    Eleven workers at Dunnes Stores in Dublin began one of the longest strikes in trade union history after a cashier was suspended in 1984 for refusing to handle goods brought from South Africa. Their three-year action ended in an Irish government ban on imports. Mandela met the former strikers on a visit to Dublin in the early 1990s. //


    • 73 Dudette
      December 7, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      Starting to look like maybe the 80K seat stadium might not be big enough.

      • 74 ERICFIVE
        December 7, 2013 at 6:40 pm

        It seems that the entire world community is gathering to send off a truly historic figure. Even North Korea is singing praises of this beloved man, Nelson Mandela. Decades unjustly imprisoned could not harden his heart and he led his nation through a transition that really could have been a bloodbath. He was one of the most vocal world leaders to stand against GWB’s push for the war in Iraq (Mr. Mandela even said that Tony Blair was serving at Bush’s “foreign minister” in his maniacal push for war). Nelson Mandela was one of those rare people who lead by example and made those who observed him strive to be better human beings. The world lost one of its brightest lights with his passing.

        • 75 nathkatun7
          December 7, 2013 at 7:17 pm

          “Nelson Mandela was one of those rare people who lead by example and made those who observed him strive to be better human beings.”

          Thank you, ERICFIVE, for expressing so well the true essence of this great man!

    • December 7, 2013 at 6:43 pm

      My childhood heroes, Hopefruit. I remember seeing them picket one of the stores in Dublin, they were like movie stars to me, I worshiped them!

      This beloved quote always reminds me of their actions:

      “One voice can change a room, and if one voice can change a room, then it can change a city, and if it can change a city, it can change a state, and if it change a state, it can change a nation, and if it can change a nation, it can change the world. Your voice can change the world.”

    • 78 nathkatun7
      December 7, 2013 at 7:43 pm

      They were such brave souls that inspired many of us here in the US who were actively involved in SA boycotts and divestment! It’s truly fitting that they are able to go bid farewell to the giant they worked so hard, and were willing to sacrificed their jobs, to make sure he and his comrades were set free, and the Apartheid abomination against humanity was ended. I am praying and hoping that Randall Robinson, the founder of TransAfrica, will also get a chance to go say goodbye to Madiba. He is the man, more than any one else in the US, who inspired me to get actively involved in SA boycotts. As a result of his tireless and persistent leadership, Congress was able to enact economic sanctions that pressured the Apartheid government in SA to free Nelson Mandela and his fellow comrades and begin dismantling the apartheid regime. To be honest, many of us in my age group never imagined that the Apartheid regime will be abolished without costly bloodshed in human lives. I am now convinced that it was the international mobilization of ordinary people, like the Irish supermarket workers, and other SA boycotts throughout the world, that in part helped save SA from a disaster.

  40. 79 Dudette
    December 7, 2013 at 5:54 pm

  41. 81 Dudette
    December 7, 2013 at 5:55 pm

  42. 83 Dudette
    December 7, 2013 at 5:57 pm

  43. 85 Dudette
    December 7, 2013 at 5:58 pm

  44. 86 Dudette
    December 7, 2013 at 5:59 pm

  45. 87 Dudette
    December 7, 2013 at 6:00 pm

  46. 88 Dudette
    December 7, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    • 90 99ts
      December 7, 2013 at 6:40 pm

      The media & a certain failed US ex politician would like Gabby Giffords to fade away – long may she remind people that political hate speech and guns are a fatal combination.

      • 91 Dudette
        December 7, 2013 at 7:07 pm

        May also remind people of the Congressional House full of colleagues who did absolutely nothing about gun control after her shooting and who subsequently looked her in the face and ignored her pleas to enact common sense gun laws.

  47. December 7, 2013 at 6:19 pm

  48. December 7, 2013 at 6:24 pm


  49. 98 forus50
    December 7, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    This is SO GOOD. Teachers and professors need to start explaining it in these terms when discussing racism.

  50. 99 Dudette
    December 7, 2013 at 6:44 pm

  51. 100 forus50
    December 7, 2013 at 6:49 pm

  52. 101 Dudette
    December 7, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    The look of pride on Sidney Poitier’s face — PRICELESS!

  53. December 7, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    this is a beautiful post…thank you 🙂

  54. 103 Allison
    December 7, 2013 at 7:21 pm

  55. December 7, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Thank you LP, can feel your loving generosity in the research and the words of this tribute.

    re: dudette’s pic of Mandela in a yankee’s cap….

    Looks like American baseball hats are a universal language among world leaders.

  56. 108 Dudette
    December 7, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    • December 7, 2013 at 7:42 pm

      • 110 nathkatun7
        December 7, 2013 at 8:15 pm

        I agree with Jeff Gauvin that it would be a good idea for President Obama to award DORIE MILLER a Medal of Honor.

    • 111 Layla
      December 7, 2013 at 7:45 pm

      Hey Dudette, just a thought..should it also be sent to FLOTUS and VP Biden

    • 112 nathkatun7
      December 7, 2013 at 8:10 pm

      Thank you Dudette, for sharing this about a forgotten hero of Pearl Harbor. You are absolutely precious in digging up all these forgotten historical facts! By the way his name is Dorie (not Doris) Miller! This forgotten hero, DORIE MILLER, who because of racism was confined to the rank of mess boy, mobilized the machine gun, after the white gunner in charge was wounded, and single handedly shot down four Japanese attack planes. He was awarded the “Distinguished Navy Cross,” but not the “Medal of Honor.” What is despicable is that he is never mentioned in most of the commemoration about Pearl Harbor.

  57. 113 Dudette
    December 7, 2013 at 7:29 pm

  58. December 7, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    I posted this yesterday, but really haven’t seen others comment on the sheer joy that Mandela exhibited all his life.

    Pssst…. also, he’s got something special in common with our President!

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    Based on the (limited) non-stop coverage of Madiba’s passing that I’ve seen on MSNBC, this feels like a truly historic occasion.

    Not only because of Madiba’s strength of chacacter, courage and greatness, but also because of his unbashed JOY.

    When was the last time we’ve been a witness to the sheer joy of a departed world figure/politician? I’ve dutifully watched all Presidential funerals since that sad one 50 years ago when John-John saluted his father’s procession.

    Even the despicable upChuck admitted today that Republicans in the 1980s were on the wrong side of history when it came to Apartheid; he showed clips from that time.

    upChuck also had two guests on his show who knew President Mandela personally. One was Patrick Gaspard; I didn’t catch the other guest’s name.

    He (unknown guest) said that what stuck him most and what stayed with him the most was how President Mandela lit up around children.

    Gosh, who does that remind you of (hint: he’s a favorite on this blog)?

    Hoping that this immersion in history during this holiday season will cause the vile MSM to reconsider the lies and distortions they’ve reported this year, and begin thinking of the historical context of their actions.

    • 115 99ts
      December 7, 2013 at 7:51 pm

      I doubt the MSM will hear your voice – but history will be more than kind to PBO – those in the media will neither be remembered nor missed

  59. 116 hopefruit2
    December 7, 2013 at 7:34 pm

  60. 118 sjterrid
    December 7, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    LP, thank you for this eloquent tribute to Madiba.

  61. 121 Dudette
    December 7, 2013 at 7:50 pm

  62. December 7, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    I am heartbroken and devastated. I won’t be able to listen to the South African national anthem without crying. Ever.

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