Nelson Mandela - 2013
People around the world are speaking out about the life and legacy of the Anti-apartheid activist and former South African president who passed away at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, on Thursday.
“During the time he was President, he would always come to the United Nations General Assembly every third week of September and stay for a week,” shares Consul General Cyril S. Ndaba of the South African Consulate-General in Los Angeles. He was a towering and inspirational figure and his sense of humor was phenomenal. There was seriousness when it came to world issues, but he definitely had a great sense of humor.”
Mandela SA Counsel General Cyril S. Ndaba by Venus Bernardo
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate who was nicknamed Madiba, a title of respect, was an embodiment of three great struggles of the 20th century: the long march towards freedom, as he put it, the march for democracy, and the march for equality.
Since December 2012, he had been hospitalized four times for issues related to a pulmonary condition. His most recent hospitalization was in June.
“Personally, I felt a sense of shock and loss, but it was not unexpected.” Ndaba adds. “The nation has been shocked and are feeling a big sense of loss. We were a nation on the brink of a self-mutilating war and he managed to salvage and rally the whole nation behind him. There has been a great sense of loss, but the people here in Los Angeles and in South Africa had been prepped for that eventuality. He was 95 and in the great book, the Bible, it says that God has given man seventy years to live. Anything above that is a bonus, so you can just imagine Madiba at 95 years old, it was expected. Now we have to uphold his ideals and his legacy.”
The government has declared 10 days of mourning and will hold a memorial service at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Tuesday, December 10 before his funeral in Qunu, his birthplace in the Eastern Cape on Sunday, December 15.
Mandela’s passing comes weeks before the scheduled world wide release of a movie which chronicles his early life and his rise to become the first-ever black president of South Africa.
In the film, titled "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," actor Idris Elba portrays the icon.
Idris Elba As Mandela - Photo by Keith Bernstein
“Even before the passing of Madiba anything that was associated with his name drew the attention of the whole world. I don’t think there will be much more than the interest generated so far which has been overwhelming.”