Mandela’s Family: ‘We Have Lost A Great Man, A Son of The Soil’

South African authorities bracing for massive crowds at memorial and funeral

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Theana Calitz-Bilt / AP

Former South African President Nelson Mandela

As the world mourns the death of the late South African president and anti-apartheid revolutionist Nelson Mandela, his family spoke out Saturday for the first time since his passing.

“We have lost a great man, a son of the soil whose greatness in our family was in the simplicity of his nature in our midst — a caring family leader who made time for all and on that score we will miss him dearly,” a spokesman for the Mandela family read from a statement in Johannesburg.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate died Thursday at the age of 95. South African authorities are bracing for massive crowds at the official services, which begin with a memorial Tuesday at FNB Stadium. More than 95,000, the stadium’s capacity, are expected.  Mandela’s body will not be at Tuesday’s memorial, and will remain in Pretoria, the nation’s capital.

President Barack Obama and former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton plan to attend part of the services. Former president Jimmy Carter will also travel to South Africa for memorial services as part of The Elders world leaders group, which Mandela first brought together in 2007, ABC reports.

Government officials have declared Sunday a national day of prayer and reflection, while both houses in parliament will have a special two-hour sitting Monday. Mandela’s funeral will be held on Dec. 15 in Qunu, Mandela’s hometown in Eastern Cape Province.

[AP]

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19 comments
Elaine N Lala
Elaine N Lala

Gandhi's teachings of pacifism helped reshape Mandela's political views and the man that left prison was no longer a young man consumed by hate, but a man with a mission to unify people for the greater good of all. The violence and intimidation of apartheid are what Mr. Mandela seeks to wring out of South African society. During the more than quarter century that Mandela was jailed, his freedom became synonymous with the freedom of his country. "If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner." Mandela : "Our men are armed and trained freedom fighters not terrorists" I am honoured to have lived in the same time as this incredible man.

RudyHaugeneder
RudyHaugeneder

Black South Africans have made almost no economic gains since Apartheid ended. Mandela allowed the white economic power to remain in power, and Black folks continue, generally speaking, to be very poor.

Several months back when it looked as though Nelson Mandela would not live as long as he did, a white Australian I know undertook a pilgrimage to historically important Mandela sites, and posted photos of his journey. The one thing I noticed as he drove though places like Soweto were visibly angry Black faces looking back at him as he was taking pictures of them in front of their homes. I pointed that out but he suggested I was reading to much into appearances. I wasn't. The people, especially women, didn't like a white guy and camera going through their poor neighborhood -- and it is very poor compared to even the poorest American or Canadian neighborhoods. Anger and resentment was what I clearly saw in the images he posted. My friend said the South African Blacks he dealt with in the cities were happy and well informed business people reaping the benefits of smart hard work in a democratic African country, and they were fully integrated socially and economically. 

Perhaps so for those Black folk who have been fortunate enough to join the middle and upper classes, but they are apparently very few in number and the pictures of people in the Black ghettos did not lie -- they resented White intruders in their very poor neighborhoods and deemed them as little more than economic slavers visiting a poverty zoo -- they didn't know he was a sympathetic Australian -- before returning home to live in comparative absolute luxury, while continuing the deprive the Black masses of education, healthcare, housing, utilities like roads and power and transportation considered normal in most white and Asian countries, good jobs and incomes, and even Blacked-owned neighborhood Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets close to home.

Joaquin Alberto Pozos Lopez
Joaquin Alberto Pozos Lopez

Luto universal, por la perdida de un Gran hombre de la humanidad, que contribuyo con su obra, hacer conciencia global en los derechos de los hombres y mujeres. Es imperativo conocer su biografia, su legado.

D Howard Decker
D Howard Decker

He was a bad man. Hence the reason he was in prison for 27 years.

Sunanda Suni
Sunanda Suni

r u callin tat man terrorist who fought whole his life for justic,independenc,oppression..??

Vojtěch Vydra
Vojtěch Vydra

Then you salute to a terrorist. Great move Sunanda!

Harrison Joshua Cande
Harrison Joshua Cande

If Society played by its own rules, he wouldn't have sat in prison for 27 years.

Judy Bunch
Judy Bunch

I will if it means getting rid of the likes of you.

Moses Doleh
Moses Doleh

Honor Nelson Mandela's legacy by demanding freedom for the Palestinans who currently live under the oppression of apartheid. How hypocritical of the Israeli regime to memorialize someone who fought his entire life against everything they stand for.

Sunanda Suni
Sunanda Suni

he is man of the century...big salute to him...