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Date: 10 December 2013

18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

Obituary of

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

CLICK HERE  Mandela Funeral Program

It is with deep sadness that the Government has learnt of the passing of the father of

South Africa’s democracy – Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

He passed on peacefully in the company of his family around 20h50 on the 5th of

December 2013.

The man who was to become one of the world’s greatest icons was born in Mvezo, Transkei

on 18 July 1918, to Nongaphi Nosekeni and Henry Gadla Mandela. His father was

the key counsellor/advisor to the Thembu royal house. After his father’s death in 1927,

the young Rolihlahla became the ward of Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo, the acting regent

of the Thembu nation. It was at the Thembu royal homestead that his personality,

values and political views were shaped. There can be no doubt that the young man went

on to bring about some of the most significant and remarkable changes in South African

history and politics.

It is through Mandela that the world cast its eyes on South Africa and took notice of the

severe and organized repression of black South Africans. Yet it was also through Mandela

that the world would learn the spirit of endurance, the triumph of forgiveness and

the beauty of reconciliation. Indeed, the story of Nelson Mandela is so much the story

of South Africa.

When he was only 25 years old, Nelson Mandela joined the African National Congress.

His political career would span decades more – as he himself said: “The struggle

is my life.” The young Mandela also qualified and practiced as a lawyer. Together with

Oliver Tambo he opened the first black legal practice in Johannesburg.

Mandela married Evelyn Nomathamsanqa Mase in 1945. They were married for fourteen

years and had four children: Thembekile (1946), Makaziwe (1947), who died at

nine months, Makgatho (1951) and Makaziwe (1954). The couple divorced in 1958.

He was instrumental in the formation of the radical African National Congress Youth

League (ANCYL) in the 1940s which was determined to change the face of politics.

Mandela was elected the league’s National Secretary in 1948 and President in 1952.

Much of the years that followed saw Mandela deeply involved in activism, rallying for

political change against the increasingly aggressive apartheid government. He was a key

player in the ANC’s Campaign for the Defiance of Unjust Laws in 1952 and the Treason

Trial in 1961. During this time he was incarcerated several times under the apartheid

laws and banned from political activity. Realising that the ANC needed to prepare for

more intensive struggle, he became an instrumental force behind the formation of a new

section of the liberation movement, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), as an armed nucleus with

a view to preparing for armed struggle. Mandela was commander in chief of MK.

On 14 June 1958 Nelson and Winnie Madikizela were married at a local Bizana church.

They had two children, Zenani (1958) Zindziswa (1960). In April 1992 they were separated

and finally divorced in 1996.

He left the country in 1962 and traveled abroad to arrange guerilla training for members

of Umkhonto weSizwe. On his return to South Africa he was arrested for illegal exiting

the country and incitement to strike. Mandela decided to represent himself in court.

While on trial, Mandela was charged with sabotage in the Rivonia Trial. This is his famous

statement from the dock made in 1964: “I have fought against White domination, and I

have fought against Black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free

society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an

ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am

prepared to die.”

In the same year Mandela and the other accused were sentenced to life imprisonment in

the Rivonia Trial and sent to Robben Island, near Cape Town. While in prison, Mandela

rejected offers made by his jailers to be released on condition that he renounced violence.

“Prisoners cannot enter into contracts. Only free men can negotiate,” he said.   He

served a total of 27 years in prison for his conviction to fight apartheid and its injustices.

Released on 11 February 1990, Mandela plunged wholeheartedly into his life’s work,

striving to attain the goals he and others had set out almost four decades earlier. In 1991,

at the first national conference of the ANC held inside South Africa after being banned for

decades, Nelson Mandela was elected President of the ANC while his lifelong friend and

colleague, Oliver Tambo, became the organisation’s National Chairperson.

In a life that symbolises the triumph of the human spirit, Nelson Mandela accepted

the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize (along with FW de Klerk) on behalf of all South Africans who

suffered and sacrificed so much to bring peace to our land.

The era of apartheid formally came to an end on the April 27, 1994, when Nelson Mandela

voted for the first time in his life – along with his people. However, long before that date

it had become clear, even before the start of negotiations at the World Trade Centre in

Kempton Park, that the ANC was increasingly charting the future of South Africa.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was inaugurated as President of a democratic South Africa

on 10 May 1994.

This world icon worked tirelessly even after the achievement of democracy in South

Africa to continue improving lives. Even as he retired from politics, his attention shifted

to social issues such as HIV and AIDS and the wellbeing of the nation’s children. As a

testimony to his sharp political intellect, wisdom and unrelenting commitment to make

the world a better place, Mandela formed the prestigious group of called The Elders – an

independent group of eminent global leaders, who offer their collective influence and experience

to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and

promote the shared interests of humanity.

Mr Mandela is survived by his wife Graça, three daughters, 18 grandchildren and

12 great-grandchildren.

Official Programme

Mr Cyril Ramaphosa and Ms Baleka Mbete

11:00 – 15:00

National Anthem: Mass Choir

Welcome and Opening Remarks: Programme Directors

Interfaith Prayers

Tribute by Family Friend: Andrew Mlangeni

Tribute by Family: General Thanduxolo Mandela

Tribute by the Grandchildren: Mbuso Mandela

Andile Mandela

Zozuko Dlamini

Phumla Mandela

Tribute by UN Representative: Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

Tribute by AU Commission Chair: Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma

Tribute by Foreign Dignitaries: President Barack Obama (USA)

President Dilma Rousseff (Brazil)

Vice-President Li Yuanchao (China)

President Hifikepunye Pohamba (Namibia)

President Pranab Mukherjee (India)

President Raúl Castro Ruz (Cuba)

Keynote Address by the President of the Republic of South Africa:

His Excellency Jacob Zuma

Sermon: Bishop Ivan Abrahams

Vote of Thanks: Premier of Gauteng, Nomvula Mokonyane

Mandela Funeral Program

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