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Denzel Musumba

Denzel Musumba


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When he appeared at the Fifa World Cup closing ceremony on Sunday, he was met by a rapturous reception. None of the other heads of states inspired that much joy at the monumental event. In his graying, shortly cropped hair and a warm black coat hiding his signature batik shirts, Nelson Mandela needed no introduction. His legacy stays with you much longer than his outfits do anyway. While the world marked the beginning of this year’s global soccer tournament on June 11, Mandela was reflecting on something different — the day he along with seven of his comrades were convicted of sabotage at the infamous Rivonia Trial of 1964. While in prison, his popularity is said to have grown much more than any other African leader and rather than habour hate for the oppressive regime, he sought reconciliation. It is easy to see why this 92-year-old remains the most revered African statesman. Through his secret weapons of “goodness and forgiveness”, he continues to win the hearts of many across the boarders. They call it The Nelson Mandela Day — a day the UN General Assembly set aside to mark his contribution to world freedom. Before taking the oath of office in 1994, Mandela had had 75 years of huddles to jump over. The first was a change of names as a young boy in school. Born Rolihlahla Mandela, he got his English name ‘Nelson’ from a teacher who didn’t care much for his Xhosa names. He would later live up his middle name, Rolihlahla, which colloquially means, “troublemaker”. The life and times of Madiba 1918: Born in Eastern Cape 11964: Charged with treason and sentenced to life 1990: Freed from prison 1993: Wins Nobel Peace Prize 1994: Elected the first black president of South Africa 1999: Steps down as president 2001: Diagnosed with prostate cancer 2004: Retires from public life 2005: Announces his son has died of an HIV/Aids-related illness 2010: Turns 92