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Mandela memorial brings friends and enemies together

Mandela memorial brings friends and enemies together

World leaders attended a memorial service in South Africa earlier today. Aljazeera reports that the memorial drew together leaders with deep divisions between their nations. Four US presidents attended the service:

World leaders from around 90 countries, along with tens of thousands of South Africans, are paying their tributes to Nelson Mandela, iconic former South African president, at a memorial service in Johannesburg, recalling his contributions for reconciliation across political and racial divides.

In his address at the ceremony at Johannesburg’s Soccer City Stadium on Tuesday, Barack Obama, the United States president, called Mandela, who died last Thursday at the age of 95, the “giant of history” and described him as a leader who “moved a nation towards justice”.

Ban Ki-Moon, the United Nations Secretary-General who is also attending the ceremony, said: “He has done it again…. We see leaders representing many points of view, and people from all walks of life. All here, united… He showed the awesome power of forgiveness and of connecting people with each other. … all the speakers selected were leaders and statesmen from countries that had previously been under colonialist rule.

Bishop Tutu called upon all to follow Mandela’s example in his benediction at the service:

The Washington National Cathedral and the South African Embassy will host the US National Memorial service for Nelson Mandela on December 11. The service will be live streamed:

Join Washington National Cathedral and the South African Embassy as we honor the life of Nelson Mandela, the international leader who fought for equality and human rights.

WUSA9 reports:

The Washington National Cathedral will host the National Memorial Service Wednesday for Nelson Mandela. Vice President Joe Biden and the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori will attend the 11 a.m. service.


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Rod Gillis

It is unfortunate that Canada was not allocated a speaker at the Nelson Mandela tribute in South Africa. Canada imposed anti-apartheid economic sanctions at a time when sanctions were opposed by both British PM Margaret Thatcher and U.S. president Ronald Reagan. Thatcher’s economy was heavily invested in S.A. and Reagan apparently worried about “communist” influence in S.A. at that time.

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