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STARS SOCCER REVIEW Magazine

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Tribute to Nelson Mandela (SSR Magazine Page 40)

FABRIC OF A REAL MAN..DELA”

Success usually comes with good leadership, and Nelson Mandela and the South Africa Football Association (SAFA) deserves a lot of credit for    putting forward a successful bid to host the FIFA World Cup tournament in such a short space of time and delivering a successful tournament.

 

It is a remarkable feat considering Mandela was release from prison in 1990 and became South Africa’s first black President in 1994. And since that time only four World Cups have been staged.

 

The expeditious manner in which Mandela campaigned to host the 2010 World Cup made its imminent success a reality in 2004. Again, the Nobel Peace Prize winner had proven that he was arguably the most loved statesman in accomplishing that feat. 

 

We were taught that in life everything happens for a reason. There is no doubt that Mandela’s 27 years in prison made him wiser and more committed. Though he may not have had thoughts of revenge and/or bitterness in his heart when he was released from prison, he returned to the outside world more committed in an effort to resolve the complicated problems of South Africa’s Apartheid System.

 

He negotiated his freedom as a concession for solving the racial unrest in South Africa and became the President in South Africa’s first truly democratic election in 1994. It must be noted that his use of sports (Rugby and Football) was an integral part of Mandela’s success in uniting a divided South Africa.

 

In 1994 President Mandela was able to convince the rugby union to bring the Rugby World Cup to South Africa, in which South Africa won. The Rugby World Cup he had hoped would help bring the races closer together and for the most part it did. It was also an opportunity for

 

South Africa to reconnect with the rest of the world, (although this position was a complete reversal from Mandela’s and the ANC (African National Congress) stance, when they helped get the South African national rugby team (the Springboks), banned from international play, since it represented the Apartheid system.

 

As a goodwill gesture, Mandela wore the Springbok's jersey and cap to the rugby finals at Johannesburg’s Ellis Park Stadium in 1995, to loud chants of “Nelson, Nelson!” from the mostly white crowd, on his walk to meet the team captain in the post game ceremony.

 

In bringing the 2010 FIFA World Cup to South Africa it meant that blacks were better represented through the sport of football and with the support of the white South Africans, the world experienced what was a true reflection of Mandela’s Rainbow Nation

 

Mandela first wife Evelyn was a nurse who worked at the Johannesburg General Hospital. The couple coming out seemed to have occurred when they attended Walter (Nelson’s friend) and Albertina Sisulu wedding in April of 1944 as boyfriend and girlfriend. Mandela was the Best Man and Evelyn (Sisulu's first cousin) was a Bridesmaid. Nelson and Evelyn got married on July 15, 1944.

The couple marriage fragmented when Mandela political ambitions increased and the relationship became consumed with conflicts of Evelyn spiritual beliefs, and his dedication to politics. The differences was said to be irreconcilable and the couple divorced in 1955, after four children and13 years of marriage.

They say that everyone has a cross to bear, but Nelson Mandela seemed to have had more than his share. Three of his four children with Evelyn died. His daughter, Makaziwe, died at the age of 9 months and his son Thembi was killed while he was in prison.  

                                                                                                                                                           His second son, Mkgatho, died of AIDS, leaving Mandela’s second daughter, also called Makaziwe (and known as Maki) as Mandela’s only surviving child with Evelyn. Makaziwe migrated to the University of Massachusetts, USA and holds a PhD in Anthropology. Dr. Makaziwe Mandela is the chairperson of Nozala Investments (Pty) Ltd and Afripack. Dr Makaziwe Mandela

Mandela’s first wife Evelyn died of lung and respiratory complications and at the time of her death (it was published) that Mandela was in Trinidad and Tobago politicking the CONCACAF region to support South Africa’s bid to host the 2010 World Cup.

Evelyn died April 30, 2004 at the age of 82, after remarrying in 1998 to Simon Rakeepile, a retired businessman. At the time of he passing she lived in Soweto in the southern part of Johannesburg. Mandela had cut short his T&T trip and returned for her funeral. 

In Mandela’s autobiography, ''Long Walk to Freedom,'' he described his relationship with Evelyn as an irreconcilable conflict between politics and religion.                                

 ''I could not give up my life in the struggle, and she could not live with my devotion to something other than herself and her family,'' he wrote. '                                                                                                          'I never lost my admiration for her, but in the end we could not make our marriage work.''

Mandela’s 2nd Wife Winnie   

Mandela also acknowledged in his autobiography that he was ''too-often a distant father,'' and that the children grew up largely without his help. Mandela married his second wife, Winnie Madikizela, in 1958 one year after his  divorce to Evelyn.                                                                                                      

 

As a couple, Winnie and Nelson Mandela were said to be made for each other. And for what it is worth, most of Mandela’s friends agreed that Winnie was the love of his life. Winnie was a young and attractive social worker, and developed into a political activist with a fiery flare.

 

The couple got married while Nelson Mandela was still under government investigation (in 1958). They had two daughters, Zenani (Zeni), born 4 February 1958, and Zindziswa (Zindzi) Mandela-Hlongwane, bornn 1959, it did not help that the University where Mandela attended, restricted registrations of black students for most of the apartheid era. 

 

Mandela was eventually incarcerated for most of the years he was married to Winnie, during which, Winnie continue the struggle and maintained contact with her husband.         

Over the years Winnie campaigned tirelessly for Mandela’s release, but in return, she was arrested and banished to the extreme part of South Africa by the apartheid authorities. It was said that Winnie’s visits and letters was a tremendous comfort to Mandela and helped him cope during his long years in jail.

The couple was re-united when Mandela was released from prison in 1990 after 27 years, but by that time allegations against Winnie’s wrongdoing continued to mount. She was accused of being unfaithful during Mandela’s years of        incarceration, but the big blow was the fraud and kidnapping charges brought against her.

The couple separated in 1992, until their divorce was settled in 1996. Within that time Mandela was elected as the first black President of South Africa in 1994 and Winnie never got the privilege of serving as First Lady of South Africa due to the separation.                               

For us at SSR, Winnie’s name will always be held in close association with Nelson Mandela, because apartheid, leadership, family, imprisonment and freedom was the fabric of Nelson Mandela’s life, and Winnie was very much a part of all of these phases. Unfortunately their marriage.

id not survive Mandela’s political fortitude based on Winnie being deemed an embarrassment to the ANCpolitical party.     

Mandela’s 3rd Wife Graca Machel 

Though Mandela’s break up with Winnie was reported as very distressing to Mandela, he got married for a third time, to Graca Machel, the widow of the former President of Mozambique Samora Machel, on his 80th birthday, July 18, 1998  

 

Graça Machel continues to live in Mozambique and uses her name from her previous marriage. Ms. Machel is reluctant to give up her work and status in her native land where she headed the first United Nations study on the impact of war on children and is the chair person for the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA) Executive Committee

It is apparent that Mandela early rep as a ladies man is quite proven. He   admitted he was under immense pressure from members of the clergy in making the decision with Graca. The members were concerned that the couple was setting a bad example by being in a relationship for over two years before getting married. 

Mandela explained that they kept the wedding secret because they wouldn't have known which of the "numerous friends" to invite, and they did not want to make a public spectacle by creating traffic jams in the streets. But in the beginning it was all rumours and speculation, until Graca exclusive interview with Ebony South Africa, when she did admit to her relationship with Mandela.  

 

"I can't deny it. It did happen," she says. Machel also mentioned that after suffering so much grief over the death of her husband she is experiencing a happiness she thought she would never feel again

 

Mandela said that he was being pressure from all sides.  "Even in Parliament in my country, deputies told me I should get married," Mandela said. "The pressure became unbearable."

Some time after getting married, Mandela announced the end of his public life to allow his three organizations (the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation) to carry on his humanitarian work. On his 90th birthday celebrations in 2008, he told the     people to pick up the baton of leadership:                                                                                                                                       

“It’s in your hands to make the world a better place” Mandela explained. He changed the 46664 concert   slogan – ‘It’s in our hands’, to ‘It’s in your hands’. Mandela’s intention of sharing the leadership and taking the focus away from him, signaled the beginning of the end. The only lingering question was whether the aging Mandela had the staying power to witness the FIFA World Cup on South African soil.

Leading up to the World Cup, Mandela was rarely seen in public, amidst speculation on the status of his health. In 2009 the first Mandela Day was held on Mandela’s birthday and it was declared Nelson Mandela International Day by the United Nations. Then, surprisingly Mandela was given another cross to bear in the wake of the World Cup.

“FABRIC OF A REAL MAN”

It seems like for most of his life Nelson Mandela had to pay a price for his accomplishments. On Friday June 10, 2010, the night before South Africa was to host a successful  FIFA World Cup, the unthinkable happened.

 

After working tirelessly to bring the FIFA World Cup to South Africa, Mandela had to miss the opening day ceremony. The 91-year-old activist cancelled his appearance due to the unfortunate death of his 13 year old great-granddaughter Zenani Mandela the night before. 

 

Zenani, (God rest her soul), was involved in an automobile accident while travelling home from the pre-World Cup concert in Soweto. She was one Nelson Mandela’s nine great-grandchildren.

 

All was not lost though, as the 2010 FIFA World Cup began with an amazing opening ceremony. Mandela’s image was shown to the crowd at Soccer City Stadium with a statement issued by the Nelson Mandela Foundation which gave the reason for the anti-apartheid activist absence as "inappropriate" for the former South African president, to attend the opening ceremony.

 

There were chants of “Madiba Madiba” (the name which Nelson Mandela is fondly called) from all areas of the stadium. There were also loud cheers when his image appeared on the screens to the message of hope from him in song.

 

"We are sure that South Africans and people all over the world will stand in solidarity with Mr.  Mandela and his family in the aftermath of this tragedy," added the statement.

 

"We continue to believe that the World Cup is a momentous and historic occasion for South Africa and the continent and we are certain it will be a huge success." it concluded

 

There was a heavenly madness at Soccer City, as the Mandela Foundation continued to deliver the message on behalf of the absent and grief stricken Nelson “Madiba” Mandela. In the ecstasy of the moment I could not help but think that Mandela may have gotten his last big wish.

That evening set the right tone for the rest of the tournament as the continent of Africa was transformed into a cultural revelation. South Africa’s Bafana Bafana team did not disappoint, and scored the first goal of the tournament in a 1-1 draw with Mexico.

In retrospect, the seeds that Mandela sewed are currently beginning to bear fruits, as African players are drafted by clubs in Europe in vast numbers in the aftermath of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. 

 

Mandela attended the closing ceremony at Soccer City and though there was no African team participating in the final four (final and third place game) that day, his curtain call at the biggest sporting event in the world meant that Mandela has successfully fought another good fight.

 

For us at SSR Magazine Nelson Madiba Mandela will remain the fabric of a real man”. 

 

 

The FIFA commissioned six-wave study group report of South African residents, were highlighted in three words, Success, Pride, and Unity.  Despite all the rumors surrounding South Africa’s inability to host, we thought we should share parts of the FIFA Commissioned Survey findings, on the local and International side.

 

On the local side the survey showed that South Africa took pride in a tournament, which was considered not only a huge success in its own right, but also an important event in terms of promoting national unity. Here at SSR Magazine, we would like to also add that World Cup South Africa, was one of the most colorful     tournaments based on the unprecedented six African teams which participated. 

 

FIFA Commission revealed that 75 per cent of those canvassed prior to the tournament, believed that there was a possibility that the World Cup could have unified the country. The post-event findings suggested that 91 per cent of South Africans claimed that their country is now more united.

 

On the International survey, almost three-quarters of those polled said that they were visiting South Africa for the first time, while approximately 83 per cent expressed their intention to return, and 94 per cent said they would be willing to recommend South Africa to their friends and family as a place to visit.

 

An area of great concern to FIFA, based on the unwarranted claims by distracters, was the readiness of the stadiums. Of those International visitors surveyed, 99 per cent rated South Africa’s preparations of its       stadiums favorably. This is amazing because FIFA reported that all of South Africa’s stadiums were either newly built or renovated for the FIFA World Cup.

 

With concerns raised about the sound of the Vuvuzelas at the stadiums, it was very interesting to find out the result of the opinion of the International visitors, on the atmosphere at the tournament.

 

With 98 per cent of those questioned commenting positively on the atmosphere in South Africa, it is clear that visitors returned home with fond memories of their time in the country, which included the sound of the Vuvuzelas at the games. The Vuvuzelas were very much a part of the atmosphere at World Cup South       Africa. Believe the Hype, that World Cup South Africa would go down as the most memorable tournament, based on only good things coming out of the projected bad expectations.

 

So much so, that in the survey, 84 per cent of international guests, rated the host nation in an more positive light post-event. The number of South Africans (???) who felt that crime would have been an issue for

visitors to the tournament dropped from 66 per cent pre-tournament to 27 per cent post.

 

“These findings highlight what we felt all along, that hosting the event in South Africa would prove to be a huge success. I am pleased to see that our confidence is clearly reflected in public opinion, as expressed in these surveys,” said FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke.

Anyone interested in more information on the surveys’ findings, can send an email request to marketingcomm@fifa.org

 

SSR 10 Benchmarks of 2010 World Cup South Africa

1. Opening Ceremony and the Bafana opening goal by Siphiwe Tshabalala 

2. Spain 1-0 loss to Switzerland on Gelson Fernandes goal in the 52nd minute at Duban

3. Cameroon as the first team to be eliminated at the World Cup after 2-1 loss to Denmark.

4. Slovakia 3-2 defeat of Italy at Ellis Park to eliminate the defending champion at the group stage.

5. USA team speed exposing England aging team in 1-1 draw at Rustenburg.

6. Serbia surprise 1-0 shutout win over the unstoppable German offense

7. Asamoah Gyan missed penalty at the end of overtime in Ghana’s 4-2 PK-loss against Uruguay. 

8. Germany run away 4-0 embarrassment of Argentina at the quarter final stage in Cape Town

9. Netherlands 2-1 come from behind win over Brazil on Wesley Sneijder’s brace in Port Elizabeth.

10.Mandela appearance at the World Cup final in Soccer City and Spain prevailing in overtime.

 

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