If you’ve ever questioned your capacity to love. If you’ve ever questioned your capacity to forgive. If you’ve ever questioned your capacity to be compassionate. If you’ve ever questioned your capacity to fight. If you’ve ever questioned your ability to overcome. If you’ve ever questioned your capacity keep pushing when you’re tired. If you’ve ever questioned your capacity to be a beacon of light to those living in darkness…..you need only look at the greatness of Nelson Mandela and understand that if he can do “it”…you can too.
We at BLAM salute Nelson Mandela and offer our condolences to his family and loved ones.
Nelson Mandela, the revered statesman who emerged from prison after 27 years to lead South Africa out of decades of apartheid, has died, South African President Jacob Zuma announced late Thursday.
Mandela was 95.
“He is now resting. He is now at peace,” Zuma said. “Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father.”
“What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human,” the president said in his late-night address. “We saw in him what we seek in ourselves.”
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Nelson Mandela exchanged vows with three different women over his lifetime. With three wives, six children, 17 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren, Mandela left behind a huge family.
Mandela married his first wife, Evelyn Mase in 1944, the same year he co-founded the African National Congress Youth League. They were married from 1944-1958.
She would confess to Fatima Meer that “I think I loved him the first time I saw him.” Working as a nurse, she supported him as he completed his law studies. Their first years together as newlyweds sounded like typical marital bliss — bathing their three babies and cooking together. But Evelyn soon became resentful of her husband’s increasingly noticeable absences.
Anthony Sampson, a close friend of Mandela and his official biographer, claims that he was a charismatic “ladies man” and even flaunted his female “political colleagues” in front of Evelyn.
Then there was, of course, Winnie. They were married from 1958-1996. Out of his three marriages and lesser known relationships, his three-decade long relationship with Winnie Madikizela is probably remembered best. When they met at a bus stop, Nelson described it as love at first sight. They were soon married in June 1958, just a year after he divorced Evelyn.
But the honeymoon phase was short and sweet. Soon after saying “I do”, she was arrested for an incendiary speech, prompting Mandela to remark proudly, “I think I married trouble.” It was then that Mandela was sent to prison. Over the next 27 years, from his jail cell on Robben Island, he penned loving letters to Winnie. In his book, Long Walk To Freedom, he wrote: “My dearest Winnie, your beautiful photo still stands about two feet above my left shoulder as I write this note. I dust it carefully every morning, for to do so gives me the pleasant feeling that I’m caressing you as in the old days. I even touch your nose with mine to recapture the electric current that used to flush through my blood whenever I did so.”
Less than two years after divorcing Winnie, Mandela was dating his soon-to-be third and last wife, Graca Machel. They were married 1998 –
When her husband tragically died in an air crash, leaving her widowed, Mandela wrote to Graca from prison. She was still in mourning when they met in person in 1990, but two years later, Mandela became the godfather of her stepchildren. Mandela was in love again, gushing to reporters, “Late in life, I am blooming like a flower because of the love and support she has given me.”
For Mandela, you might consider Amina Cachalia as “the one who got away” in his lifetime of loves.
Amina, a longtime Indian anti-apartheid and women’s rights activist, became close friends with Mandela over the years. When her husband, ANC activist Yusuf Cachalia, died in 1995, he professed his love for her.
Nelson Mandela is a global icon that represents courage, hope, passion, strength, forgiveness, humility, and love. We salute you for your sacrifice in the struggle to end racial injustice. We honor you as a visionary who epitomized what it means to live compelled by the courage of your conviction. Thank you Rolihlahla.