usually comes with good leadership, and Nelson Mandela
and the South Africa Football Association (SAFA)
deserve a lot of credit for delivering a successful FIFA World Cup tournament
in such a short space of time.
It is a remarkable feat considering
Mandela was released from prison in 1990 and became South
Africa’s first black President in 1994. During 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 FIFA announced that South
Africa was going to be the host of the World Cup and
once again, the Nobel Peace Prize
winner had proven that he was arguably the most loved
statesman with this accomplishment.
We were taught that in life everything
happens for a reason and there is no doubt that Mandela’s
27 years in prison made him wiser and more committed to
Although it was said that he did not have any thoughts of revenge and/or
bitterness in his heart when he was released from
prison, it was obvious that he
returned to the outside world made him more committed
to resolve the complicated problems of
South Africa’s Apartheid System.
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
convince the rugby union to bring the Rugby World Cup to
South Africa, in which South Africa won. He had hoped
that hosting the Rugby World Cup would have brought 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
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
Mandela first wife Evelyn was a
nurse who worked at the Johannesburg General Hospital.
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
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. At the time of her death (it was
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 her passing she lived
in Soweto in the southern part of Johannesburg. Mandela
had cut short his T&T trip and returned for her
In Mandela’s autobiography, ''Long Walk
to Freedom,'' he described his relationship with Evelyn
as an irreconcilable conflict between politics and
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
also acknowledged in his autobiography that he was
''too-often a distant father,'' and that his 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 also agreed that Winnie was the love of his
Winnie was a young and attractive social worker,
who developed into a political activist with a fiery
The couple got married while Nelson
Mandela was still under government investigation (in
1958). They had two daughters, Zenani (Zeni), born 4
1958, and Zindziswa (Zindzi) Mandela-Hlongwane, born in
1959. Contributing to Mandela's problem was the fact 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
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 were 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 wrongdoings 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
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 (1994) and
Winnie never got the privilege of serving as First Lady
of South Africa due to the
For us at SSR, Winnie’s name will always be held in
close association with Nelson Mandela, because
apartheid, leadership, family, imprisonment and freedom
were the fabric of Nelson Mandela’s life, and Winnie was
very much a part of all of these phases. Unfortunately
their marriage did not survive Mandela and the ANC party
political fortitude based on the embarrassing turn of
Mandela’s 3rd Wife Graca Machel
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. Mandela marry Graca on his 80th birthday, July 18,
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. She is the chair person for the
Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA)
apparent that Mandela early reputation as a ladies man is quite
proven. However, 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. In the beginning it was said to be all rumours and
speculation, until Graca exclusive interview with Ebony
South Africa, when she did admit to her relationship
"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
mentioned 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
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
your hands to make the world a better place” Mandela
changed the 46664 concert slogan – ‘It’s in our
hands’, to ‘It’s in your hands’.
It was obvious that
Mandela’s intention of
sharing the leadership and taking the focus away from
him, signaled the beginning of the end of his public
life. The only
lingering question was whether the aging Mandela had the
staying power to witness the FIFA World Cup on South
up to the World Cup, Mandela was rarely seen in public,
amidst speculation on the status of his health.
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”
seems like for most of his life Nelson Mandela has had
to pay a price for his accomplishments. However, the
reward was priceless. On Friday June 11, 2010, South
Africa was on its way to hosting a successful FIFA
But, 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 of
Mandela’s nine great-grandchildren.
All was not lost though, as Mandela’s
image was shown to the crowd at Soccer City Stadium that
There was also 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 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, and in the
ecstasy of the moment I could not help
but think that Mandela may have gotten his last big
The 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.
Mandela sewed by helping South Africa host a
successful World Cup are beginning to bear fruits.
A large number of African players are joining
clubs in Europe and around the globe. The increase
has been more noticeable after the World Cup as
the Africa teams got a chance to showcase their
talented players to the world.
The tournament also end on a high note as Mandela was able to attend the closing
ceremony at Soccer City and though there was not an African
team participating in the final four teams (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”.
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