On this day of mourning for not only the people of South Africa, but for people around the world, Strate would like to pay tribute to Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. As the father of South Africa’s Rainbow Nation, who successfully led a peaceful transition to democracy in our country, Strate and its staff are deeply saddened by the loss of this great man.
Strate would like to thank our international colleagues for their tributes and well wishes at this time. We are blessed to have been part of South Africa’s history under such an iconic man and leader. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mandela family and the people of South Africa.
About Nelson Mandela
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (Xhosa pronunciation: [xo’li:lala man’de:la]; born 18 July 1918) served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election.
Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, and the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC). In 1962 he was arrested and convicted of sabotage and other charges, and sentenced to life in prison. Mandela served 27 years in prison, spending many of these years on Robben Island.
Following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, Mandela led his party in the negotiations that led to multi-racial democracy in 1994. As president from 1994 to 1999, he frequently gave priority to reconciliation.
In South Africa, Mandela is often known as Madiba, his Xhosa clan name; or as tata (Xhosa: father) Mandela has received more than 250 awards over four decades, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize.
Following his release from prison, Mandela returned to the leadership of the ANC and, between 1990 and 1994, led the party in the multiparty negotiations that led to the country’s first multi-racial elections.
In 1991, the ANC held its first national conference in South Africa after its unbanning, electing Mandela as President of the organisation. His old friend and colleague Oliver Tambo, who had led the organisation in exile during Mandela’s imprisonment, became National Chairperson.
Mandela’s leadership through the negotiations, as well as his relationship with President F. W. de Klerk, was recognised when they were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
Presidency of South Africa
South Africa’s first multi-racial elections in which full enfranchisement was granted was held on 27 April 1994. The ANC won 62% of the votes in the election, and Mandela, as leader of the ANC, was inaugurated on 10 May 1994 as the country’s first black President, with the National Party’s de Klerk as his first deputy and Thabo Mbeki as the second in the Government of National Unity. As President from May 1994 until June 1999, Mandela presided over the transition from minority rule and apartheid, winning international respect for his advocacy of national and international reconciliation.
After assuming the presidency, one of Mandela’s trademarks was his use of Batik shirts, known as “Madiba shirts”, even on formal occasions.
Mandela became the oldest elected President of South Africa when he took office at the age of 75 in 1994. He decided not to stand for a second term and retired in 1999, to be succeeded by Thabo Mbeki.
After his retirement as President, Mandela went on to become an advocate for a variety of social and human rights organisations including the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation.
According to an article in Newsweek magazine, “Mandela rightly occupies an untouched place in the South African imagination. He’s the national liberator, the saviour, its Washington and Lincoln rolled into one”.
In November 2009, the United Nations General Assembly announced that Mandela’s birthday, 18 July, is to be known as “Mandela Day” to mark his contribution to world freedom. Mandela did a lot of work for humanity and will always be remembered as a good man who advocated peace, reconciliation and love for our fellow man.
Orders and Decorations
Main article: List of Nelson Mandela awards and honours Mandela has received many South African, foreign and international honours, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 (which was shared with Frederik Willem de Klerk), the Order of Merit from, and creation as a Baliff Grand Cross of the Order of St. John by, Queen Elizabeth II and the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush.
In July 2004, the city of Johannesburg bestowed its highest honour on Mandela by granting him the freedom of the city at a ceremony in Orlando, Soweto.
As an example of his popular foreign acclaim, during his tour of Canada in 1998, 45,000 school children greeted him with adulation at a speaking engagement in the SkyDome in the city of Toronto.
In 2001, he was the first living person to be made an honorary Canadian citizen (the only previous recipient, Raoul Wallenberg, was awarded honorary citizenship posthumously). While in Canada, he was also made an honorary Companion of the Order of Canada, one of the few foreigners to receive
In 1990 he received the Bharat Ratna Award from the government of India and also received the last ever Lenin Peace Prize from the Soviet Union. In 1992 he was awarded the Atatürk Peace Award by Turkey. He refused the award citing human rights violations committed by Turkey at the time, but later accepted the award in 1999. In 1992 he received of Nishan-e-Pakistan, the highest civil service award of Pakistan.
Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, was published in 1994, an extended version of No Easy Walk to Freedom, published by Heinemann in 1965. Mandela had begun work on it secretly while in prison. In that book Mandela did not reveal anything about the alleged complicity of F. W. de Klerk in the violence of the eighties and nineties, or the role of his ex-wife Winnie Mandela in that bloodshed. However, he later co-operated with his friend, journalist Anthony Sampson who discussed those issues in Mandela: The Authorised Biography.
Mandela Day on 18 July is an annual international day adopted by the United Nations. Individuals, communities and organisations are asked to donate 67 minutes to doing something for others, commemorating the 67 years that Nelson Mandela gave to the struggle for social justice.
Lala ngoxolo Madiba
18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013
Gone, but never forgotten