QUNU, South Africa (AP) — July 18 marks 100 years since the birth of Nelson Mandela, who died in 2013.
Visitors can follow in Mandela’s footsteps from the villages where he was born and raised, to the Soweto township where he became an anti-apartheid leader, to Robben Island where he was imprisoned for years.
THE EASTERN CAPE
“When Mandela was just a child, he walked for miles on this route, moving from one village to another,” said tour guide Velile Ndlumbini as we drove through the picturesque green rolling hills of the Eastern Cape.
The homestead where he was born can be seen in the small village of Mvezo. He lived here until age 2, when his father lost his position as village chief in a dispute with a magistrate.
The family then moved to neighboring Qunu, where Mandela lived until age 9, when his father died. He and his mother then moved 19 kilometers (12 miles) away to Mqhekezweni.
Here he was adopted by the acting regent king and groomed for leadership. Mandela wrote in his autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom,” that his interest in politics was first kindled listening to tribal elders holding community meetings in Mqhekezweni. A shady spot under a circle of gum trees, Ndlumbini said, is still used for that purpose.
It was Qunu where Mandela returned after 27 years in prison. He built a complex there along the N2 highway for his family, where some still live, and he moved back to Qunu himself after retiring from public life.
Dusty roads lead to his private grave, across from his family’s burial site.
Qunu also houses the Nelson Mandela Museum, which opened on Feb. 11, 2000, the 10th anniversary of his release from prison. It takes visitors from his childhood through his involvement in politics to his triumphant election as president.
Some 200 kilometers (125 miles) south lies the Steve Biko Museum in King William’s Town. Biko was an icon of anti-apartheid activism, an African nationalist and a leader of the grassroots Black Consciousness Movement. He was a major influence on Mandela, and died in 1977 after being arrested and beaten.
In neighboring Mandela Bay in Port Elizabeth, an installation called Route 67 showcases 67 artworks symbolizing Mandela’s 67 years of service. The art, all by locals, depicts significant moments on the journey from apartheid to democracy, moving from laser-cut steel figures forming a voting line in the country’s first democratic elections in 1994, to a stairway that starts in darkness and progresses to an era of color and new beginnings.
Created in the 1930s by the white government to relocate the black population away from Johannesburg, Soweto became the largest black city in South Africa. Poverty was rampant in the shanty towns and civil unrest was common during apartheid.
Mandela lived in Soweto from 1946 to 1962 and met African National Congress activist Walter Sisulu there.
Mandela’s Soweto home has also been converted into a museum. But the most exhaustive and heartbreaking site is the Apartheid Museum. The entrance is divided into “blankes/whites” and “nie-blankes/non-whites,” followed by a display of “passes” that the black population was required to carry, restricting their movements. The museum details the white settlers’ history in South Africa, the beginnings of apartheid and daily struggles blacks endured, along with the story of how Mandela transformed the African National Congress into a mass political movement.
The Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum tell the story of the 1976 Soweto riots. Hector was 12 when he was shot and killed by police firing on student protesters. A famous photo shows his limp body being carried as his sister ran alongside. Some accounts say hundreds died during the protests. The museum contains a heart-wrenching and moving collection of oral testimonies, large-scale photos, audiovisual displays and historical documents about the uprising.
A drive north takes you to Liliesleaf, in the suburb of Rivonia. This farm-turned-museum, once owned by South African Communist Party member Arthur Goldreich, was used in the 1960s as a secret hideout for Mandela and other activists on the run from police. The famous Rivonia Trial ended with Mandela and his comrades sentenced to life in prison on Robben Island.
A 45-minute ferry ride from Cape Town, Robben Island is where Mandela spent 18 years of his 27 years in prison, beginning in 1964, alongside other heroes of the movement like Sisulu and Govan Mbeki.
The most powerful part of the tour, led by a former prisoner, is a visit to Mandela’s cell, a 7-by-9-foot (2-by-2.7-meter) room. Despite the humiliation and oppression of his years here, this was also where he honed his skills as a leader, negotiator and proselytizer, which put him on the path to the presidency in 1994.
For visitors, making a pilgrimage to places connected to Mandela’s life is both distressing and uplifting. While South Africa has come a long way, this young democracy still has a lot of work ahead, including improving living conditions and resources for its majority black population.
A mobile app, Madiba’s Journey, created by South African Tourism and the Nelson Mandela Foundation, can help you trace the footsteps of the man who dedicated his life to freedom.
The FBI will release a revised edition of the “Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide” that gives their agents more flexibility when it comes to violating your constitutional rights. It is difficult to believe the agency’s recent action has managed to fly under the media radar, but a great deal of the nation has been overly concerned with Anthony Weiner and his inability to act like a morally reasonable adult. FBI agents will be allowed to use commercial and law enforcement databases to gather intelligence without having to file any records. They will also be given the authority to evaluate “potential informants” by sorting through trash or giving lie-detector tests. In a letter to the director of the FBI, Senator Jon Tester of Montana says “until law enforcement agents have reason to investigate any American, it is unacceptable for those agents to cast a wide, non-specific net when they are evaluating a target as a potential informant.” With Big Brother growing more and more powerful, we may soon be living (and not just reading about) George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Wikileaks is auctioning 8 tickets to have lunch with founder Julian Assange as a fundraiser. The bidding began last week and was already at $812 by Wednesday. The lunch will be held on July 2nd, at one of London’s finest restaurants. Along with Assange, guests will have the opportunity to dine with Slovenian Marxist philosopher Slavoj Zizek. Assange is currently on bail and has pled not-guitly for sexual misconduct against two women. Bidding closes today; will you win this once in a lifetime opportunity?
Derrick Kayongo, an Uganda native, was not content with simply fleeing the tyrannical rule of a dictator. Instead he has made it his business to lower child-mortality rates in poor countries. Kayongo and The Global Soap Project (GSP) recycle soap from hotels and create new pathogen-free soap to distribute to struggling villages and families. GSP does not chargerecipients and relies mostly on volunteer assistance. By providing recycledsoap to thousands, Kayongo and The Global Soap project has freed people from having to decide between eating or washing their hands of potential life threatening bacteria. With a more socially conscious generation entering into adulthood, we are bound to see more world citizens like Derrick Kayongo. Tweet
Kreayshawn, no that’s not a typo, was recently signed to Columbia Records, and has been supported by artist, Snoop Dogg. Based on her single, “Gucci, Gucci,” she is not bound to attract a conservative audience, but there is something worth discussing concerning this artist. Kreayshawn was born Natassia Zolot. She dropped out of high-school, made a career directing music videos, and then decided to be a rapper. Her single dismisses label brands like “Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, and Prada,” because she is above labels. Her claim to fame is supposed to be her originality, but aside from her being a white girl from San Francisco, I’m struggling to find the uniqueness. Once again, a gimic wins over the sheep. How will we effectively market real messages in this sea of confusion called the media? Watch Interview below (WARNING: Explicit language) Tweet
Leanne Archer is 15 years old and has a successful hair care business that had revenues of over $100,000 last year. Robert Nay is 14 years old and, with no coding experience, went to a library and learned how to create an iPhone app game. A month later, he created Bubble Ball, which has been downloaded more than 7 million times. Lizzie Marie is 11 and the star of the cable series “Healthy Cooking with Lizzie.” These are just a few of the successful young moguls. They all had one thing in common: their parents’ blessing! Encourage your kids now to do what they want to do “when they grow up.”
For the past five years, insurance premiums have remained stable, but due to rising costs of energy and building materials (gasoline is up 37%, copper is up 20%, and plywood is up 8%) insurance premiums are rising. Consequently, premiums at State Farm Insurance Co. increased its rates 7.3% on average last year. Experts anticipate more increases for homeowners as a backlash for the recent uprising of natural disasters around the world; some say the increase could be as much as 20%. How will your family brace for the increase?
IBM recently announced that it will offer a packaged software platform for cities with applications such as real-time video feeds and street sensors for police, and aims to eventually offer advancements for urban populations. The first three “solutions” will roll out over the next two years and will provide innovative technology for public safety, water management, and transportation monitoring. The future is upon us!
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Oprah has declared, “I have a dream of O.J. Simpson confessing to me…And I am going to make that happen people.” Winfrey hopes to bring this exclusive on her new interview show, Oprah’s Next Chapter, which is set to launch in January. Although she has referred to her new goal as not “that lofty,” I doubt Simpson would confess unless he was on his deathbed. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to seeing Winfrey start her “next chapter,” and I hope that inspires other 50-somethings to keep dreaming beyond mid-life.
9 MOVIES WINNE MANDELA CALLS BIOPIC PLAYED BY JENNIFER HUDSON AN INSULT
Jennifer Hudson will play Winnie Mandela in biopic ‘Winnie,’ due later this year. Although the film has been set up as a tribute to Mrs. Mandela, she does not support the film and expressed her disdain in an interview with CNN because she was not consulted. Mandela has never seen the script; she has never even met Hudson. They have positioned the film as a love story between Nelson and Winnie Mandela during the apartheid struggle. Mandela has exclaimed, “I don’t know what would be romantic in our bitter struggle.” Mandela argues that the filmmakers have done exactly what the enemy did, “they thought for (me)…they (know) what I thought, what I felt like….” Powerful words.
Watch the interview below. Do you think the film is an act of disrespect?
Tracy Morgan had no choice but to go into damage control after saying anti-gay statements in a recent standup in Nashville, TN. Morgan will go with GLAAD to protest the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which outlaws the discussion of homosexuality before the ninth grade in public schools. Morgan recanted his offensive statements saying, “I was bullied when I was a kid. I’m sorry for what I said. I didn’t mean it. I never want to use my comedy to hurt anyone. My family knew what it was like to feel different. My brother was disabled and I lost my father to AIDS in 1987.” Morgan also plans to do a PSA. It seems like every other week a new celebrity has to go into PR rehab after saying an offensive anti-gay statement. Is this an unnecessary parade, or does this issue need to be publicly addressed?