Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 6th 2013 Contents YVONNE BABOOLAL
South Africa s first black
president and anti-apartheid
icon Nelson Mandela died
peacefully at his Johannesburg
home yesterday, South Africa
president Jacob Zuma
announced via a nationally tel-
evised address. Mandela was
95.Zuma ordered national flags
to be flown at half-mast as
South Africans were thrown into
a state of mourning.
Mandela, who won a Nobel
Peace Prize for his long struggles
for the liberation of South
Africans from oppressive white
rule, had been described as crit-
ical but stable since he was dis-
charged from hospital. He died
after a prolonged lung infection.
In a statement last night,
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar said the world had lost
a freedom fighter and statesman.
"The world has lost democ-
racy's most loyal friend and
advocate," she said.
Describing Mandela as the
20th century's icon of freedom
and liberty, she added: "He
inspired us to believe that no
obstacle is too large, no walk is
too long and no enemy of free-
dom is so powerful that we
should ever consider giving in.
"His life will surely become
one of the most epic stories in
world history, of the true depth
and strength of the human spir-
it. He inspired us with his life,
his words, his work and his tri-
Persad-Bissessar said Mandela
would forever be remembered
as a man who fought for free-
dom and won it for millions
around the world, without once
compromising his beliefs or his
"The legacy he has left us is
one we shall always celebrate
and we shall always thank God
for Nelson Mandela. The prayers,
love and support of the people
of T&T are with his family and
those close to him.
"May he rest in peace know-
ing that he leaves behind many
who will continue his fight."
Stunned, shocked and sad
were the words South Africa's
High Commissioner to T&T,
Maureen Modifelle, used to
describe her emotions after she
heard the news yesterday. Mod-
ifelle said she heard of Mandela's
passing on a television at the
airport in St Lucia where she
was awaiting a flight back to
"We were sort of half expect-
ing this but when it actually
happened it was unbelievable,"
Modifelle told the T&T
Guardian. "I just wish I was
home," she added.
Modifelle, who said she has
been given extra countries to
preside over, one of them being
St Lucia, said by some "strange
coincidence," she and that coun-
try's Prime Minister, Kenny
Anthony, and other government
officials all spoke of Mandela at
a meeting earlier yesterday.
She added: "One is hoping
he's at peace and rest. He came
to this earth and fought a good
fight. It remains for us to con-
tinue to preach peace, reconcil-
iation and forgiveness. These are
the words you think of when
you think about Mandela.
"We must pray for his imme-
diate family and for South
Africans and, in particular, for
his spirit to rest."
Modifelle said she had not yet
spoken to anyone from the
South African Commission in
T&T about plans to observe
Mandela's passing but would
have a meeting today to discuss
He will live on
Movement for Social Justice
David Abdulah said all knew the
end had been near for Mandela,
given he had been gravely ill for
several months, but news of his
passing was still shocking.
Abdulah said Mandela, as a
fighter for freedom and justice,
was not a talker but a doer.
"He will live on in us through
our deeds. Nelson Mandela has
indeed walked the talk and his
leg of the long walk to freedom
has now ended.
"Others must take up the
baton and continue the journey.
Let us all try to be a little more
like him, dedicating his life to
improving the well being of his
fellow citizens and of humanity,"
Larger than life
Independent Liberal Party
(ILP) interim leader Jack Warner,
who was instrumental in Nel-
son Mandela's visit to T&T in
May 2004, said his testimony
was that one must never give
up and give in, no matter what
the ridicule or level of detraction.
He said Mandela's fight showed
that an oppressive regime could
Warner, during a CNC 3 tel-
evision interview last night, said
one of the most memorable
things for him during Mandela's
visit to T&T occurred during a
youth rally at the Queen's Park
Oval in Port-of-Spain.
Warner said a child asked
Mandela: "Are you Nelson Man-
dela?" He said Mandela replied:
"No, I am your friend, your
Warner said Mandela pos-
sessed a very philosophical mind
that inspired his words and
"There is much we can learn
from the legacy of Mandela."
The Emancipation Support
Committee (ESC), during Man-
dela's visit to T&T, had resisted
plans to take him to the Country
Club, associated with the local
In a CNC 3 interview last
night, Khafra Kambon said:
"You feel a sense of sadness,
even though you had known for
a long time his life on earth was
over. You feel that some people
are larger than life and should
be around for a long time."
"He was a man fighting for
his people and against the west-
ern world. People all over the
world felt themselves to be a
part of the struggle," he added.
Kambon said people must
realise how deep-seated racism
is and have the courage to stand
up against it.
(See pages A5, A6 and A29)
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From page A1
At times, Mandela embraced his iconic status,
appearing before a rapturous crowd in London's
Wembley Stadium soon after his 1990 release from
jail. Sometimes, he sought to downplay it, uneasy
about the perils of being put on a pedestal.
In an unpublished manuscript, written while in
prison, Mandela acknowledged that leaders of the
anti-apartheid movement dominated the spotlight
but said they were "only part of the story," and every
activist was "like a brick which makes up our organ-
He secured near-mythical status in his country
and beyond. Last year, the South African central
bank released new banknotes showing his face, a
robust, smiling image of a man who was meticulous
about his appearance and routinely exercised while
South Africa erected statues of him and named
buildings and other places after him. He shared the
1993 Nobel Peace Prize with F W de Klerk, the coun-
try's last white president. He was the subject of
books, films and songs and a magnet for celebrities.
In 2010, Mandela waved to the crowd at the Soccer
City stadium at the closing ceremony of the World
Cup, whose staging in South Africa allowed the
country, and the continent, to shine internationally.
It was the last public appearance for the former
president and prisoner, who smiled broadly and was
bundled up against the cold.
He was confined to the harsh Robben Island prison
near Cape Town for most of his time behind bars
then moved to jails on the mainland.
Thousands died, or were tortured or imprisoned
in the decades-long struggle against apartheid, which
deprived the black majority of the vote, the right to
choose where to live and travel and other basic free-
So when inmate No 46664 went free after 27
years, walking hand-in-hand with his wife Winnie
out of a prison on the South African mainland, people
Mandela raised his right fist in triumph, and in
his autobiography, "Long Walk to Freedom," he would
write: "As I finally walked through those gates... I
felt even at the age of 71---that my life was beginning
Mandela's release, rivaled the fall of the Berlin Wall
just a few months earlier as a symbol of humanity's
yearning for freedom, and his graying hair, raspy
voice and colourful shirts made him a globally known
Since apartheid ended, South Africa has held four
parliamentary elections and elected three presidents,
always peacefully, setting an example on a continent
where democracy is still new and fragile.
However, corruption scandals and other missteps
under the ruling African National Congress, the lib-
eration group once led by Mandela, have undercut
some of the early promise.
Mandela's final years were marked by frequent
hospitalisations as he struggled with respiratory
problems that had bothered him since he contracted
tuberculosis in prison.
He is survived by Machel; his daughter Makaziwe
by his first marriage, and daughters Zindzi and Zenani
by his second. (AP)
Friday, December 6, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Mandela's Caribbean visit recalled...
for 05th DECEMBER, 2013
with South Africa
FLASHBACK: Former South African president Nelson Mandela is
escorted through the crowd by then FIFA vice-president Jack
Warner during a youth rally at the Queen's Park Oval, Port-of-Spain,
in 2004. Mandela was in T&T on an official state visit.
lost loyal friend'
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