Bermudians On The Legacy Of Nelson Mandela

December 6, 2013

Following the death of legendary human rights icon Nelson Mandela yesterday [Dec 5], Bermudians join those around the world on reflecting on the legacy of a man who gave so much.

Revered around the globe for leading the fight against white minority rule in South Africa, Mr. Mandela suffered through 27 years of imprisonment at the hands of the apartheid government, and went on to become the first black President of South Africa, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and a world renowned humanitarian.

His long walk to freedom inspired people across the globe, and Bermudians from all walks of life stopped last night on hearing of his passing, with some brought to tears as they reflected his life and legacy.

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Premier Craig Cannonier [link], Opposition Leader Marc Bean [link], and the Bishop of Bermuda Rt Revd Nicholas Dill all paid tribute to the iconic figure, calling him an inspiration to us all.

They were joined by countless people, many of whom turned online to pay tribute. Upon news of his passing, social media feeds across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram became flooded with photos, memories and tributes to the late South African president

Governor George Fergusson said, “President Nelson Mandela’s death marks the passing of one of the world’s few truly unifying figures. His contribution to transition and reconciliation in South Africa is remarkable.

“But the whole world owes him a debt as a symbol of courage, principle and forgiveness. We will all mourn him.”

Former Premier Dr Ewart Brown said, “Nelson Mandela stood for great ideals in a world that was not ready to practice those ideals. We have lost a giant.”

Deputy Premier Michael Dunkley said, “His star shines brightly even in death because his life’s work for freedom and justice provides an enduring legacy that extends beyond his native South Africa and compels us to greater public service…he is the world’s greatest example of selfless,courageous leadership…”

MP Walton Brown said, “He was a man of great courage, conviction and vision. From revolutionary to statesman, he embodied inspirational leadership the likes of which the world has rarely seen.”

Olympic triathlete Tyler Butterfield said, ”The world has lost a great soul today, and was blessed to have it for his time. Nelson Mandela you will be truly missed. Rest in peace.”

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MP Terry Lister said, “Nelson Mandela was a man who rose above all men. He was able to wisely use his 27 years in prison to transform his own thinking such that when he was released from prison rather than calling down a fire storm of violence he preached peace for first South Africa then the World.

“In 1995 I went to South Africa and while there made the mandatory trip to Robbin Island. I stood in his cell and tried to imagine what caused him under those horrible conditions to become the man of peace that he became. These were conditions that would have broken many men instead it transformed him. Mandela will be remembered forever. We must live up to his ideals.”

Senator Jeffrey Baron said, “Nelson Mandela personified grace, resilience and triumph. He redefined traditional beliefs about leadership.

“He challenged us to evolve, spiritually, when facing oppression and he lived his life free – despite his physical imprisonment – he was a free man who held beliefs, values and love- attributes that would set his countrymen free and inspire mankind to live more righteous. He is, without a doubt, again with god”.

Both Caines brothers paid tribute to the late South African President, with Dwayne Caines saying, “Mandela was a living example of commitment and sacrifice.

“Our generation had the opportunity to see a man, stand for his principles be put in jail, however we also got the opportunity to see him leave jail and become the President of South Africa,a full metamorphosis right before our eyes.

“I remember Mr. Mandela being in jail and everyone wearing free Mandela tshirts and the boycotting of South Africa and South African products. I was also fortunate enough to be alive when Mandela was freed and the jubilation and celebration that followed.

“Certainly Mandela’s life will serve as a global representation of service and sacrifice and for generations to come the story of his life will be told and celebrated. May Nelson Mandela rest in peace,” concluded Dwayne Caines.

Wayne Caines echoed his brother’s sentiments saying, “Nelson Mandela suffered under the oppression of apartheid. He fought for justice ad was imprisoned for his beliefs. After his imprisonment, Nelson Mandela could have let the pain and struggle of his past, ‘imprison’ him forever, he did not.

“Nelson Mandela’s example of leadership, love and compassion was seismic and a major step change for global leadership. I am saddened to learn of my hero’s passing. Our world is a better place as a result of his life and legacy, rest well Mandiba.”

Former Senator Laverne Furbert said, “I, like the rest of the world, was saddened to learn of the passing of Nelson Mandela. In fact, I equate to learning of the news of my own father’s passing several years ago.

“While we celebrate Mr. Mandela’s life, I am urging people to remember that his work in South Africa did not finish with his passing. Although apartheid was outlawed in South Africa, still today hundreds of thousands of Black South Africans still live in a racist and segregated country.

“I have no doubt that Mr. Mandela will rest in peace,” said Ms Furbert.

Political commentator Chris Famous said, “Mandiba has shown us all, that no matter what oppression one faces, stand up for what is right. Stand firm and your oppressors can oppress you no more. Your oppressors will eventually become your brothers and sisters.”

Mr Famous recalled the work done by Bermuda’s Glen Fubler, who was involved with the Anti-Apartheid movement in Bermuda and worked tirelessly to bring awareness and change.

Former MP John Barritt said, “As we celebrate his life, I remember this from Mandela’s Conversations with Myself, from one of the many letters he wrote when imprisoned: “The ideals we cherish, our fondest dreams and fervent hopes may not be realised in our lifetime. But that is besides the point. The knowledge that in your day you did your duty, and lived up to the expectations of your fellow men is in itself a rewarding experience and magnificent achievement.”

“A great man whose insight was but small reflection of his greatness, the greater part was his ability to deliver and live the message in a way that all men and women of this world could understand, and want to emulate. We may all be the poorer for his passing but richer for having lived in his lifetime.”

Entertainer Mark Anderson said, “This is another sad day for the world. Mr Mandela was an influential legend. The first black President of South Africa, a Nobel Prize winner.

“He has inspired so many of our world and upcoming leaders, including me to show commitment, love, respect, dignity, professionalism and courtesy to our fellow man. For us to have freedom to enjoy it on the ‘Highest Level.”

Footage of Nelson Mandela being released from prison in 1990 at age 72:

Former Opposition Leader Kim Swan said, “The death of President Nelson Mandela brings to a close the life of a great man who possessed the courage to use his leadership skills to fight for the freedom of his people against the tyranny of an oppressive governmental regime that overtly practised racism against an entire country and by example transported that culture across the globe.

“The greatest example for mankind in modern years came following President Mandela’s release as a political prisoner and the collapse of apartheid. With the transfer of power to the African National Congress, President Nelson Mandela led his people peacefully into a new era of freedom and democracy which allowed the black majority to govern South Africa.

“His example will forever be a beacon of hope for all mankind to follow – how a prison cell could not tarnish his humanity or the hope he held in his heart for his nation and all of its people – could shine so bright to light up the world.

His quote sums it up best, “as I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”

“Thank you God for the life and example of President Nelson Mandela. May he rest in peace,” said Mr Swan.

Mr Mandela will lie in state for several days, before he will be laid to rest. Heads of state and royalty from around the world are expected to make the journey to South Africa to pay tribute to the human rights icon.

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  1. It is a humbling experience to see the World stop and pay tribute to a man whose legacy begun as a trouble maker and someone who was deemed to be no good and never amount to nothing, but look how God uses a suppose to be nobody and make him great throughout all Nations of the world.

    I first visited South Africa in the mid nineties and have had the pleasure of going back many times since, the thing that sticks out in my mind always is having to had the opportunity to see where Mr. Mandela lived at that time and the actually getting to visit the home of his ex wife Winnie, talking with staff and members of the family was like embracing true greatness as they stood tall and proud in their belief of what the Mandela’s truly meant to all South Africans.

    Staying in the heart of Pretoria in a hotel exclusively for political leaders of the World and distinguish guest that only a five star hotel and higher at that time would accommodate was a experience that our Church at the time would never forget, having putting us on the Presidential floor, where we literally look out of our room windows and saw that we were right next door to President Mandela’s Presidential office surrounding with a beautiful landscape. having had the opportunity to meet the Queen of Zambia and her children and grand children and they were in town to visit the President of South Africa at that time.

    In closing nothing serves us better then to see the World paying tribute to a man that was hated by white Africana’s and white supremacy but in the end even the enemies have to respect the power of God in the life of a man who refuse to give up or give in and to those that may get offended, we do not apologize for recognizing the true legacy of the man who made the life of all blacks in South Africa to know that there is true freedom and peace if we keep striving toward it and never give in under the pressure.

    A black person has never really known the true sense of belonging until they have been to South Africa, when you step on the soil and go throughout all the regions with all it’s history you will understand, that the feeling and the sense of belonging to the Mother country is made so real. Africa is and always will be the Mother country to all humanity if you truly know your history and it is only fitting that we have one of our own born and raised within the Mother country to show how oppressed of a people we were but also show the strength of a black people that can not and will not be held down or held back.

    This is a time to reflect of how far we have come as a people on the backs of our fore fathers and mothers but still live in a world were we treat each other as if we have no real true legacy to live by.

  2. Quite interesting says:

    I am very saddened by the death of the great counter-racist Mandella. My concern is that many people talk about injustice and don’t directly say what it is. Racism! IT is not a south-african problem it is a Global Problem. White people should be led to think hard about what privilege they have around the around and the cost to non-white people.
    We all hear white people celebrate the the fact that he didn’t kill white people they don’t speak as eloquently about how he could have and by rights should have. Now there are those who say it is senseless to hit back at white people because of political reprisal and they talk about how noble that he was with out flinching to see that Mandela calls for white people to act courageously and fight racism just as he did. They need to be responsible, dignified and respectful even if they feel racially marginalized. THey need to challenge their white friends about racism in Bermuda. It is their turn to create a Mandela who stands for justice for all. I find it quite interesting that white bloggers are patently silent about that. I have been to Robin Island and the cells scream with the sanity of black men that was crushed and the stones scream of the black sKulls that were broken and the soil screams with the blood of black freedom fighters who died. Mandella represents all of us who had to be engaged in a small way or large way in the destruction of white supremacy. Whether it be apartheid or institutionalized racism. Wrecked black culture or impoverished communities. There needs to be a bit of Mandela in all of us. For there is much work to be done!

    • LOL (original TM*) says:

      Unfortunately for you and others that say they want Racism dealt with they and your message gets lost in how you present it. Something politicians do most times on per purpose. It’s an emotional topic for all and the discussion will not proceed and nothing will be done about it until blacks and whites who are concerned with this topic learn to communicate with each other without blaming or trying to guilt one another into a corner. On Whiteprivlige as a white person this seems to only apply to high mid class to rich whites in my experience. As much as others don’t seem to thinks so.

      LOL

      • LOL (original TM*) says:

        Just to add that’s why Mandela has the respect he has among most people around the world. The likes of people like AL Sharpton, our own Minister R Commissiong and other local politicians will never reach this man’s level of respect across the board.

        LOL

        • Quite interesting says:

          Your covert racist rhetoric is exactly what he spoke against. This sublime avoidance your your culpability and your benefits of a Racist society.

          • Hmmm says:

            A great man passes, and you learn nothing from him. Show some respect.

            Thank you Nelson Mandela, you showed the world the way forward. A truly great man.

            • Quite interesting says:

              Clearly you are still defending your ancestors. Well let me celebrate mine!

              • LOL (original TM*) says:

                Quite interesting that you pushed the conversation to exactly where I predicted you would. Judging by your reaction I think it is you that have racial prejudice as you can’t point out anything I said in the above that has racial intent. I stated a fact that I do not believe people I named and yourself now included do not really want racism to be dealt with as it serves some purpose for you and those mentioned. Infect you are just repeating the behavior. Example someone starts a conversation with a stranger by accusing them of something how do you think this would end do you think a calm conversation will result. Come now I just think that Mandela unlike most people realized that the human factor is involved here. So let say he championed this matter in SA as you suggested by killing people do you think the rest of the world would have just sat back or do you think that SA would have been economically, socially shun by the nations that had interests in SA. On White privilege prove me wrong I said that it seems to work for high mid class to rich whites as I as a white person cannot see the benefit of said privilege.

                LOL so I guess no meaning full conversation on racism will come from you. Just remember I as a white person is not afraid to have the discussion I think it is you and those above who are afraid to unearth your true feelings and truth about the discussion.

        • Mazumbo says:

          Don’t you know before he got imprisoned he thought like the names you mentioned. So I guess when you have your liberty taken away from you for 27 years you have a change of heart, but I respected him when he was a rebel as well which most people try to downplay.

  3. Watson says:

    I had the chance to be a part of history and saw Mandela on his vist to Jamaica in 1991. I was in Montego Bay and left 6:00am to travel by bus for 4 hours to Kingston. Mandella showed up at 8:00pm it was well worth the wait. It was a great experience I will always cherish. Jamaican reggae artist always sang songs about free Mandela and telling people to boycott any dealings with South Africa until Mandela was free. To see him in person was such an awesome moment. He looked strong even after being locked up for 27 years. You looked at him and knew there was something special about him. His skin was so radiant and smooth, I have never seen anything like it before. It bought tears to my eyes because he was like a father figure to many, many people including me. I am glad that I had the chance to see such a great person who knew his life wasn’t about himself but about helping others which he did with courage and pride. He made history,changed history and rewrote history with his extraordinary life. He paved the way not just for South Africans but for many,many people in the world. He is going to be a miss by all people of all races and nationality but his legacy will live on.
    RIG (Rest in God) Mandela. You fought a great fight and ran your race with pride and dignity now it’s your time for peace.

  4. Cindy Swan says:

    I was in Jamaica when Mr. Mandela was freed from prison. I was driving back to Montego Bay from Kingston alone.

    I had the radio blasting and singing with Charlene Davis “welcome home, Mr. Mandela, Welcome Home.”

    When the radio announcement he was free, I started beeping the horn, got out of my car and started dancing, tears rolling down my face.

    To my amazement, as I was parked in the middle of nowhere, no house in sight, about 10 people appeared with pots and spoons banging, singing and dancing with me.

    We, all strangers on the deserted bushed roadway danced, hugged and cried. It was such a special moment in time.

    He rightfully visited Jamaica and Cuba, the Caribbean countries that supported his plight to end apartheid shamelessly.

    The emotions I’m experiencing today is very similar to the ones I felt when my own father passed away 3 years ago.

    On my bucket list was to curtsey and hug Mr. Mandela.

    It will now have to be on the other side of the forest.