Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 9th 2013 Contents Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, December 9, 2013
South Africans living and
working in T&T are mourn-
ing the loss of Nelson Man-
dela and are praising him for
ending the former white
racist apartheid regime.
They say thanks to Man-
dela, the "now generation" of
South Africans mix freely with
each other and there is no pro-
nounced segregation as under
The T&T Guardian spoke
to several members of the
Association of South Africans
of T&T, a large number of
whom are white.
Margaretha de Vos, a white,
expressing her emotions at
Mandela s passing, said, "I
think words cannot describe
the hollowness in the hearts
of every South African. He
was the father of our nation."
De Vos, like most of her fel-
low South Africans in T&T,
said she was still very young
when Mandela became South
Africa s first black president,
but had witnessed some seg-
regation under apartheid.
"When I finished school,
the first set of black students
had started to enter public
school," she said.
"We are definitely more of
a rainbow nation now. It does-
n t matter whether you are
white or black. We stand
together as a country. It (the
unity) was one thing Mandela
De Vos came here three
years ago and works as an
Mark De Sousa, another
white South African living in
T&T, said of Mandela s death:
"It s very emotional. We knew
he was ill but it s still sad to
have him go. He was the father
of our nation."
De Sousa said he would not
say segregation had completely
ended in South Africa but the
way blacks and whites used
to look at each other had been
abolished among the younger
Lebo Mphahlele, a black
South African, is a member
of the association and was sad
he was so far away from
home. He, too, said there was
true reconciliation among the
races in South Africa.
"When you go to the sta-
dium, you see people of all
colours, whites, blacks, Indi-
ans. Although history would
have run its course, this is so
largely because Mandela and
others fought for it."
Marese Kevser, a white
South African, describing the
passing of Mandela, said it
was "quite a sad day. I wish
I was in South Africa at the
Kevser remembered when
Mandela sang Twinkle, Twin-
kle Little Star to her and other
children in the gardens of the
presidential grounds in the
first year he was president.
"I was eight years old at the
time. He was a phenomenal
Kevser said she remembered
a part of apartheid but the
country had changed a lot.
"I don t think there s a
white person in South Africa
who criticises Mandela," she
Tegwen Kimber, also a
white South African, echoed
"I think I was about six
when he became president. I
remember standing in a line
with my aunt, who was going
"It s just a shock he s not
around any more. We are
grateful for what he did for
our country. He brought
equality into South Africa.
Back in those days, you
wouldn t find blacks and
Now they are friends."
We're more of a rainbow nation now
South Africans in T&T praise father of the nation:
South African Optometrist,
Margaretha de Vos living in
Trinidad for the past three
Members of the T&T Association of South Africans on Nelson Mandela day last year in
Fire survivor Josiah Joseph
remains warded at the San Fer-
nando General Hospital Burns Unit
in stable condition after he escaped
death when his father set their
Gasparillo home ablaze on Satur-
The teen s elder brother, Jelani,
17, was not so lucky. He succumbed
to injuries he sustained when he
jumped through a window to escape
the burning house in Semper Street,
Gasparillo. Their father, Christo-
pher Joseph, perished in the blaze.
Yesterday the teen, whose both
legs are bandaged along with one
of his hands, shared a private visit
with his mother Therika Mc Cain
at the Burns Unit, where he is cur-
The woman, who was accompa-
nied by female relatives, was seen
wiping away tears when she
emerged from the Burns Unit after
visiting the 16-year-old.
Mc Cain, who spent close to half
an hour with the teenager refused
to speak with reporters when they
"I have nothing to say to the
Express, Guardian, Newsday. All yuh
already establish the story. I have
no side to tell. Please leave me alone.
I am dealing with enough already,"
she said as turned her back on
Prior to his mother s visit Josiah
was seen walking gingerly outside
the Burns Unit. He crossed the cor-
ridor use the washroom. He then
hastily returned to his bedside.
At the Burns Unit only one mem-
ber of the family was allowed to
visit the teenager and the Mc Cain
was the first to enter the room.
It is expected that later today
autopsies will be performed on Jelani
and his father later today.
According to police reports around
1.30 am on Saturday police officers
received a phone call from Claude
Joseph, 61, that his son s home was
When fire officials arrived they
were unable to save Christopher or
According to reports Mc Cain and
Christopher separated approximately
two months ago and the father of
two pleaded with her to return, he
had also threatened to kill the boys.
On Saturday he followed through
with the threat. Jelani, who was a
Form Five student at Ste Madeleine
Secondary School, and his brother
Josiah were asleep when their father
set the house ablaze.
Investigations are continuing.
Mom visits surviving son after Gasparillo blaze
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