Photos/Videos: Nelson Mandela Day Celebrated

July 18, 2013

[Updated with videos] People around the world, including Bermuda, celebrated Nelson Mandela Day today [July 18]  in honour of the man who is revered around the world as global icon of peace.

In 2009, the General Assembly of the United Nations designated ‘July 18th’ as Mandela Day, and Imagine Bermuda, in concert with the African Diaspora Heritage Trail committee, CURB and Chewstick organized the celebration which was held at the Wesley Methodist Church on Church Street.

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A community choir was assembled and led by Director Lloyd Mathews in their performances. Entertainment filled the schedule and included African Drumming, poems, and singing. Hamilton Town Crier Ed Christopher led those gathered in the Stevie Wonder rendition of “Happy Birthday” which saw the crowd on their feet singing and swaying. The Warwick Gombeys performed outside as the event came to an end and people left the church.

Born on July 18, 1918, the legendary civil rights icon endured 27 years in prison for fighting against apartheid, and is considered the founding father of South Africa’s multiracial democracy.

Nelson Mandela Birthday Celebrations Bermuda, July 18 2013-1

Mr Mandela has been hospitalised since June 8 for a recurring lung infection, and remains hospitalised at this time.

The former president and Nobel Peace Prize winner is believed to have suffered damage to his lungs while working in a prison quarry. He contracted tuberculosis in the 1980s while being held in jail on the windswept Robben Island.

In 1963 Mr. Mandela joined nine others on trial for in what became known as the Rivonia Trial. Facing the death penalty, he told the Court: “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.”

Nelson Mandela Birthday Celebrations Bermuda, July 18 2013-6

In June 1964, Mr. Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment. He spent the first 18 of his 27 years in jail at the brutal Robben Island Prison. Confined to a small cell without a bed or plumbing, he was forced to do hard labour in a quarry, and could only receive a letter once every six months.

On 11 February, 1990, Mr. Mandela was released from prison after serving 27 years. Hundreds of thousands of supporters lined the streets to celebrate his release, and his release was broadcast around the world.

In a speech frequently drowned out by roars from the crowd, Mr. Mandela said: “Today, the majority of South Africans, black and white, recognize that apartheid has no future. It has to be ended by our decisive mass action. We have waited too long for our freedom.”

The slideshow below contains 30+ photos of the event:

In 1994, Mr Mandela was sworn in as the country’s president after over three centuries of white minority rule, becoming the first black president of South Africa. He served one term, and after leaving office continued to be a voice on the world stage for developing nations, human rights and the fight against AIDS.

Mr Mandela retired from public life in 2004 and has rarely been seen at official events since. He last appeared in public during the World Cup in 2010, and despite being out of the public eye, he remained a pivotal figure, with his name intricately linked to South Africa’s fight for freedom.

“Happy Birthday” song:

In his autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom,” Mr Mandela said: “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Those in attendance today included Premier Craig Cannonier, Governor George Fergusson, Minister Michael Dunkley, Opposition Leader Marc Bean, former Minister Lt/Col David Burch, former BIU president Ottiwell Simmons, PLP MP Michael Weeks and many more.

Premier Cannonier dances with the Gombeys outside Church:

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Comments (12)

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  1. Mazumbo says:

    BE WATCHFUL ALWAYS!!!! THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES!!!!!!!!!! UNITED WE STAND DEVIDED WE FALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. margeI says:

    Mazumbo, you are so right we all need to be united,blacks and whites … that is what the greatest leader of the world wants.
    Happy birthday Nelson Mandella.

    • R@s cl@d says:

      Mazumbo is an a**.

    • Mazumbo says:

      Easier said then done blacks have always been submissive to reconcile to whites but it goes both ways!

  3. Robert says:

    Photo opp premier at it again !!! Did he have anything thought provoking to say ?!!

  4. margeI says:

    our premier is the best we have ever had !!! he is so intuned with the people of bda !!!!! and he can dance !!!!

    • R@s cl@d says:

      He knows things that you don’t .

    • Mazumbo says:

      How did you come to that conclusion he dos’nt follow the transparency and accountability rule ,answer difficult questions and lets his ministers run de show.

  5. watching says:

    Hahaha Margel is HILARIOUS!