The evolution of Nelson Mandela

During my lifetime, I have dedicated myself to the
struggle of the African people. 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. It is an ideal
which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if it needs
to be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.
Nelson Mandela

Mandela died December 5 2013 at his home and was memorialized December 10, 2013 during an extraordinary gathering of tens of thousands of ordinary South Africans and world leaders in a soccer stadium in Soweto.

On the first day of three days of Mandel’s  lying in  state in Pretoria, the country’s capital city, the number of mourners overwhelmed authorities’ efforts to control the crowds. Mandela will be buried during a state funeral in the Eastern Cape village of Qunu, where he grew up.

Mandela’s birth name was Rolihlahla. In his Xhosa tribe, the name means pulling the branch of a tree or troublemaker.   Before tying the knot with Mandela on his 80th birthday, Graca Machel was married to Mozambique President Samora Machel. Her marriage to Mandela after her husband’s death means she has been the first lady of two nations.

He studied law at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and opened the nation’s first black law firm in the city in 1952. Mandela wasn’t removed from the U. S. terror watch list until 2008 — at age 89. He and other members of the African National Congress were placed on it because of their militant fight against apartheid.

He was a prominent member of the African National Congress, which originally adopted a policy of passive resistance against apartheid but later embraced violence against the military and white civilian targets.

He was imprisoned for 27 years, released in 1990 and went on to serve as South Africa’s president from 1994 to 1999.

While he was in prison, Mandela would read William Ernest Henley’s “Invictus” to fellow prisoners. The poem, about never giving up, resonated with Mandela for its lines “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.”  (CNN)

ANDREW HARNIK Vice President Joseph R. Biden recalls warmly his meeting with Nelson Mandela in South Africa during Wednesday's national memorial service for the former South African president at the Washington National Cathedral. "So many places in the world need the spirit of Nelson Mandela," Mr. Biden said.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden recalls warmly his meeting with Nelson Mandela in South Africa during Wednesday’s national memorial service for the former South African president at the Washington National Cathedral. “So many places in the world need the spirit of Nelson Mandela.”                                                                                                           (Photo–Andrew Harnik)

Beneath the soaring stone arches of the Washington National Cathedral, Nelson Mandela was remembered as a humble leader, unbroken prisoner, a catalyst for change and global inspiration.

Hundreds of people joined foreign dignitaries, civil-rights leaders and the vice president of the United States on Wednesday to pay tribute to Mr. Mandela.

Addressing the large crowd, many of whom wore dark dresses and suits or traditional South African clothing, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. recalled his visit to South Africa as a senator. Mr. Biden told those gathered that the United States mourned with South Africa “the loss of a truly extraordinary man. The most impressive man or woman I’ve ever met in my life.”

“President Mandela taught us trust is possible, reconciliation is possible, justice is possible, change can come,” Mr. Biden said. “Thank God for Nelson Mandela, the man who did what seemed impossible — for if it can be done once, it can be done again. So many places in the world need the spirit of Nelson Mandela.”

Mr. Mandela died Dec. 5 after a long illness. He was 95. His body is lying in state for three days in Pretoria, the South African capital, before his burial Sunday in his homeland.

Beneath the soaring stone arches of the Washington National Cathedral, Nelson Mandela was remembered as a humble leader, unbroken prisoner, a catalyst for change and global inspiration.

Hundreds of people joined foreign dignitaries, civil-rights leaders and the vice president of the United States on Wednesday to pay tribute to Mr. Mandela.

Addressing the large crowd, many of whom wore dark dresses and suits or traditional South African clothing, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. recalled his visit to South Africa as a senator. Mr. Biden told those gathered that the United States mourned with South Africa “the loss of a truly extraordinary man. The most impressive man or woman I’ve ever met in my life.”

“President Mandela taught us trust is possible, reconciliation is possible, justice is possible, change can come,” Mr. Biden said. “Thank God for Nelson Mandela, the man who did what seemed impossible — for if it can be done once, it can be done again. So many places in the world need the spirit of Nelson Mandela.”

Mr. Mandela died Dec. 5 after a long illness. He was 95. His body is lying in state for three days in Pretoria, the South African capital, before his burial Sunday in his homeland.

The cathedral’s Bourdon Bell, which is rung during funerals, tolled several times throughout the memorial service’s opening prayers. Choirs from Maryland, California and South Africa sang hymns and songs, as people cheered and clapped to the rhythm. Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey, two-thirds of the group Peter, Paul & Mary, led a singalong of their anthem “No Easy Walk to Freedom.”

Ebrahim Rasool, ambassador of the Republic of South Africa, thanked everyone “for taking the time to honor this African son.”

“Nelson Mandela is not a flitting meteor but a fixed star,” Mr. Rasool said. “A star that guides our vision and gives us relief, directs our efforts and keeps us hopeful in confusing times.”

Mary Frances Berry, a Geraldine R. Segal professor of American social thought at the University of Pennsylvania and a civil rights advocate, said she remembered Mr. Mandela as “the imprisoned freedom fighter.”

“When he was released, he was ready,” she said. “He was still as warm and engaging as he was when he went to prison. He had become serene though, more thoughtful, strategic. He used his time, he did not let time use him.”

William Lucy, president emeritus for the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, called Mr. Mandela a comrade, who’s “struggle for fairness became the world’s struggle.”

Mr. Mandela inspired workers in South Africa, Mr. Lucy said, as well as auto workers in Detroit, miners in Appalachia and longshoremen in New York.

The National Anthem of South Africa

Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika
Maluphakanyisw’ uphondo lwayo,
Yizwa imithandazo yethu,
Nkosi sikelela, thina lusapho lwayo.
Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso,
O fedise dintwa le matshwenyeho,
O se boloke, O se boloke setjhaba sa heso,
Setjhaba sa South Afrika – South Afrika.
Uit die blou van onse hemel,
Uit die diepte van ons see,
Oor ons ewige gebergtes,
Waar die kranse antwoord gee,
Sounds the call to come together,
And united we shall stand,
Let us live and strive for freedom,
In South Africa our land.

Lord, bless Africa
May her spirit rise high up
Hear thou our prayers
Lord bless us.
Lord, bless Africa
Banish wars and strife
Lord, bless our nation
Of South Africa.
Ringing out from our blue heavens
From our deep seas breaking round
Over everlasting mountains
Where the echoing crags resound,
Sounds the call to come together,
And united we shall stand,
Let us live and strive for freedom,
In South Africa our land.

[Episcopal News Service] On the day when Nelson Mandela’s body began lying in state outside South Africa’s official seat of government power, an array of dignitaries gathered in the U.S. capital to say farewell to “a man of biblical stature.”

Washington National Cathedral was the site of a somber, rousing and rollicking three-hour-ten-minute national interfaith service celebrating Mandela’s “life, legacy and values.” The service, which was live-streamed, included prayers and speakers from a number of religious experiences. The colors of South Africa and the United States were presented during the service, to the singing of each country’s national anthems.

Isaiah 58: 6–12

Is not this the fast that I choose:  to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?  Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?  Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of God shall be your rear guard.  Then you shall call, and God will answer; you shall cry, and God will say, ‘Here I am.’  If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.  And God will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.  And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.

Hebrews 11: 32–38; 12:12-13

And what more should I say?  For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received their dead by resurrection.  Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection.  Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.  They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy.  They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.

Imam Mohamed Magid, President, Islamic Society of America
Quran 41:34-36; 42:43; 3:133-134

And not alike are the good and the evil.  Repel (evil) with what is best, when lo!  He between whom and you was enmity would be as if he were a warm friend. And none are made to receive it but those who are patient, and none are made to receive it but those who have a mighty good fortune.  And if an interference of evil should cause you mischief, seek refuge in Allah; surely He is the Hearing, the Knowing.  And whoever is patient and forgiving, these most surely are actions due to courage.  And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord; and a Garden, the extensiveness of which is (as) the heavens and the earth, it is prepared for those who guard (against evil).  Those who spend (benevolently) in ease as well as in difficult times, and those who restrain (their) anger and pardon fellow humans; and Allah loves the doers of good (to others).

Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt, of Congregation B’nai Tzedek, compared Mandela’s story to that of the Old Testament Joseph, a man initially shunned who became a leader of an African nation and who later showed mercy to his captors.

Let There Be Peace             Louise Robinson and Carol Maillard

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin
With every deed and word I speak, restore
peace again, let there be peace on earth
Let the moment be now
When every man and woman
understands their power. Let there be
peace, let there be peace, let there be
peace, let there be peace
Let there be peace on earth

And let it extend
To every border near and far
Restore peace again
Let there be peace on earth
Let this be the day
That all humanity will raise their voices to
say let there be peace, let there be peace
Let there be peace, let there be peace
Let there be peace on earth
Let it begin with me

The Rev. Allan Boesak, director of the Desmond Tutu Center at Christian Theological Seminary at Butler University, preached the sermon. Boesak worked with both Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu to eliminate apartheid and promote reconciliation. After Mandela was released he taught “the difference between determination and bitterness,” Boesak said. “He brought healing to our souls,” he said, repeatedly warning that the struggle for equality, justice, peace and reconciliation is not over. “There is so much left for us to do,” he said, calling on those present to vow to continue the work and bringing the congregation to applause.

In a closing prayer Diocese of Washington Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde asked God to “let a portion of his mantle rest upon all of us, upon all people,” adding that “we pray and pledge to be worthy of it.”

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said Mandela lived in the manner described by Rabia of Basra, an 8th century Sufi mystic, who wrote “Ironic, but one of the most intimate acts of our body is death, so beautiful appeared my death – knowing who then I would kiss, I died a thousand times before I died. ‘Die before you die,’ said the Prophet Muhammad. Have wings that feared ever touched the Sun? I was born when all I once feared – I could love.”

“It turns to us to walk from here,” Jefferts Schori said, echoing the prayer that she said Mandela used to pray, “Go in peace, be peace, make peace.”  (ENS)

His Day is Done                                                   Dr. Maya Angelou

His day is done.
Is done.
The news came on the wings of a wind, reluctant to carry its burden.
Nelson Mandela’s day is done.
The news, expected and still unwelcome, reached us in the United States, and
suddenly our world became somber.
Our skies were leadened.
His day is done.

We see you, South African people standing speechless at the slamming of that
final door through which no traveler returns.
Our spirits reach out to you Bantu, Zulu, Xhosa, Boer.
We think of you and your son of Africa, your father, your one more wonder of the
world.
We send our souls to you as you reflect upon your David armed with a mere stone,
facing down the mighty Goliath.
Your man of strength, Gideon, emerging triumphant.
Although born into the brutal embrace of Apartheid, scarred by the savage
atmosphere of racism, unjustly imprisoned in the bloody maws of South African
dungeons.

Would the man survive? Could the man survive?
His answer strengthened men and women around the world.

In the Alamo, in San Antonio, Texas, on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, in
Chicago’s Loop, in New Orleans Mardi Gras, in New York City’s Times Square, we
watched as the hope of Africa sprang through the prison’s doors.

His stupendous heart intact, his gargantuan will hale and hearty.
He had not been crippled by brutes, nor was his passion for the rights of human
beings diminished by twenty-seven years of imprisonment.
Even here in America, we felt the cool, refreshing breeze of freedom.

When Nelson Mandela took the seat of Presidency in his country where formerly
he was not even allowed to vote we were enlarged by tears of pride, as we saw
Nelson Mandela’s former prison guards invited, courteously, by him to watch from
the front rows his inauguration.

We saw him accept the world’s award in Norway with the grace and gratitude of
the Solon in Ancient Roman Courts, and the confidence of African Chiefs from
ancient royal stools.

No sun outlasts its sunset, but it will rise again and bring the dawn.

Yes, Mandela’s day is done, yet we, his inheritors, will open the gates wider for
reconciliation, and we will respond generously to the cries of Blacks and Whites,
Asians, Hispanics, the poor who live piteously on the floor of our planet.

He has offered us understanding.
We will not withhold forgiveness even from those who do not ask.

Nelson Mandela’s day is done, we confess it in tearful voices, yet we lift our own to
say thank you.

Thank you our Gideon, thank you our David, our great courageous man.
We will not forget you, we will not dishonor you, we will remember and be glad
that you lived among us, that you taught us, and that you loved us all.

http://www.nationalcathedral.org/exec/cathedral/mediaPlayer2013?MediaID=MED-6FKLQ-440018&EventID=CAL-6FD7T-UD001E

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