South Africa mourns
Expressions of grief and condolence have poured in from across the world after former president, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and statesman, Nelson Mandela, the world's icon of reconciliation, compassion and goodwill, died at home in Houghton, Johannesburg, at 20h50 on the night of 5 December 2013. He was 95.
South Africa mourns THOSE 95 years were remarkable.
After spending 27 years in apartheid's prisons, Mandela became South Africa's first democratically elected president in 1994. He united a fraught and fearful country, bringing together blacks and whites when South Africa was living through violent and troubled times.
His legacy is enormous. For 27 years he was the South Africa's icon of freedom, even though apartheid law made displaying his image illegal. At the end of his presidency he continued to work for a better South Africa, mainly through his many foundations. These include the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, a museum launched only a week ago, and, in his home province of the Eastern Cape, the Nelson Mandela School of Science and Technology, due to open in early 2014. Mandela's name - and prison number - are also used in the 46664 campaign, a worldwide concert fundraising programme to help victims and orphans of Aids.
Troublemaker from the Eastern Cape
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 in Mvezo in the Eastern Cape province, the son of a chief of the Tembu clan of the Xhosa nation. At the age of seven he was enrolled in the local missionary school, where he was given the name "Nelson", after the Admiral Horatio Nelson of the Royal Navy, by a Methodist teacher who found his African name difficult to pronounce. That name, Rohlihlahla, means "troublemaker".
After his father was stripped of his chieftainship following a dispute with a local magistrate, Mandela and his mother moved to the small village of Qunu. In 1927, when Mandela was nine, his father died, and the boy became the ward of the Tembu regent, Jongintaba Dalindyebo. He was to be groomed to assume high office but, influenced by the cases that came before the chief's court, decided to become a lawyer.
In 1939, after he had matriculated from school, Mandela enrolled at the University College of Fort Hare for a bachelor of arts degree. But the following year, after being suspended from college for joining in a protest boycott and fleeing an arranged marriage, he moved to South Africa's principal city, Johannesburg.
Arriving in Alexandra township in the north of the city, he found work as a guard at one of Johannesburg's many gold mines, and later as an articled clerk at a law firm. He completed his degree by correspondence at the University of South Africa, and began to study law at the University of the Witwatersrand.
In 1942 Mandela entered politics by joining the African National Congress (ANC), South Africa's major liberation movement and today the country's ruling party. It was during this time that he and a small group of mainly young members of the ANC embarked on a mission to transform the party into a mass movement.
In 1944 he, Anton Lembede and Mandela's lifelong friends and comrades Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu founded the ANC Youth League (ANCYL). That year he also married his first wife, Evelyn Mase. In 1947 he was elected president of the ANCYL.
The year 1948 was a dark one in South Africa, with the election of the racist National Party, voted into government by a white electorate on the platform of apartheid. In response, in 1949, the ANC adopted its Programme of Action, inspired by the Youth League, which advocated the weapons of boycott, strike, civil disobedience and non-cooperation with authority.
The programme aimed at the attainment of full citizenship and direct parliamentary representation for all South Africans. In policy documents co-written by Mandela, the ANCYL paid special attention to the redistribution of the land, trade union rights, free and compulsory education for all children, and mass education for adults.
During the Campaign for Defiance of Unjust Laws in 1952, Mandela was elected the ANC's national volunteer-in-chief and travelled the country organising resistance to discriminatory laws. He was charged and brought to trial for his role in the campaign and given a suspended prison sentence.
Mandela and Tambo attorneys
In recognition of his contribution to the defiance campaign, Mandela was elected president of both the Youth League and the Transvaal region of the ANC at the end of 1952. He subsequently became the deputy president of the ANC.
Soon after the defiance campaign, Mandela passed his attorney's admission examination and was admitted to the profession. In 1952 he and Oliver Tambo opened a law firm in downtown Johannesburg.
Tambo, the chairperson of the ANC at the time of his death in April 1993, wrote of their practice: "To reach our desks each morning Nelson and I ran the gauntlet of patient queues of people overflowing from the chairs in the waiting room into the corridors … Our buff office files carried thousands of these stories and if, when we started our law partnership, we had not been rebels against apartheid, our experiences in our offices would have remedied the deficiency. We had risen to professional status in our community, but every case in court, every visit to the prisons to interview clients, reminded us of the humiliation and suffering burning into our people."
The 1950s turned out to be a time of strife and tribulation for Mandela – he was banned, arrested and imprisoned. His personal life was also in some turmoil, as he divorced Evelyn to marry Winnie Madikizela. He was also one of the accused in the historic Treason Trial that ended in 1961, with the state dropping all charges.
The Black Pimpernel
In 1960 police opened fire on a group of protesters in the township of Sharpeville, killing 69 people. The reaction was immediate, with demonstrations, protest marches, strikes and riots across South Africa. On March 30 1960, the government declared a state of emergency, detaining more than 18 000 people, and banning the ANC and other liberation movements.
With the banning, the ANC leadership went underground and Mandela was forced to live away from his family. He was a master of disguise and managed to evade the police, a feat which earned him the nickname in the media as the Black Pimpernel.
The banning also forced the ANC to move from nonviolent to violent means of opposing apartheid. Umkhonto we Sizwe, the movement's armed wing, was formed in 1961, with Mandela as commander-in-chief. After travelling abroad for several months, he was arrested in 1962 on his return to South Africa for unlawfully exiting the country and for incitement to strike. Convicted, he was sentenced to five years on Robben Island, the notorious political prison off the coast near Cape Town.
While serving this sentence, he was charged with sabotage in the infamous Rivonia Trial. In 1964 Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Eighteen of Mandela's 27 years in jail were spent on Robben Island, where he carried out hard labour in a lime quarry. As a D-group prisoner, the lowest classification, he was allowed only one visitor and one letter every six months.
While in prison Mandela studied by correspondence with the University of London, earning a Bachelor of Laws degree. In 1984 he was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town, and in December of that year he was moved to Victor Verster Prison near Paarl in the Western Cape.
President of South Africa
Over the years, South Africa slowly descended into near-chaos, with almost constant unrest inside the country, armed insurgency from without, and steadily increasing international pressure from the international community to end apartheid. On 2 February 1990 the country's National Party president, FW de Klerk, made a remarkable announcement: a negotiated settlement would end apartheid, all liberation movements would be unbanned, and all political prisoners released – including Nelson Mandela.
Nine days later Mandela walked out of Victor Verster prison, his wife Winnie on his arm and his fist raised in the liberation movement salute.
In 1991, at the first national conference of the ANC held inside South Africa after its decades-long banning, Mandela was elected president of the party. His long-time friend, Tambo, became national chairperson. In 1993 he and FW de Klerk were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their different roles in the peaceful end of apartheid.
In 1994, after South Africa's first democratic elections, Mandela became president of the Republic of South Africa. That year he published his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, which he started writing in prison.
After serving a five-year term as president of the country, Mandela ceded the ANC presidency to Thabo Mbeki. He retired from public life in June 1999, though not from the public eye. He built himself a home in his birthplace in Qunu, which he would visit as often as he can.
Known affectionately by his clan name of Madiba, Mandela had friends across the world – Bill Clinton, Bono of U2, Naomi Campbell. Some of his friendships went back over 60 years, as with Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo and Ahmed Kathrada.
In his autobiography Memoirs, Kathrada recounted that he and Mandela affectionately called one another madala, isiZulu for old man.
"Charming and charismatic, he has both a magnetic personality and a commanding presence," Kathrada wrote. "An uncommon amalgam of peasant and aristocrat, he is a living paradox: a democrat par excellence, with just a touch of the autocrat; at once proud but simple; soft yet tenacious; obstinate and flexible; vain one moment and humble the next; infinitely tolerant but also impatient."
Kathrada and Mandela spent 18 years together on Robben Island and a further seven in Pollsmoor Prison, along with Sisulu.
"For all the public exposure and media attention Madiba remains an enigma to all but his most intimate circle," Kathrada said.
He recounted an incident with a terminally ill girl, Michelle Britz, that was typical of Mandela. She wanted to meet Madiba, and when she met Kathrada on Robben Island, he got to know of her wish. Kathrada passed on her wish to the then president, who sprang into action immediately.
"The president of South Africa, a universally respected statesman with one of the busiest schedules on earth, flew to the Mpumalanga town of Secunda by helicopter, bearing gifts for a sick child.
"The emotional meeting between Madiba and Michelle was shown on national television, and as she clasped her little arms around his neck and kissed him, the eyes of millions must have filled with tears, just as mine did."
In his honour
Nelson Mandela was given the freedom of 45 cities around the world, and honorary citizenship of 11 cities.
In Johannesburg, his image was cast in a 6m-high bronze statue and stands preserved in his famous jive in Nelson Mandela Square.
Speaking at the statue's unveiling in April 2004, Ndileka Mandela, Madiba's eldest granddaughter, said: "This is a very happy statue. The dancing stance pays tribute to the spirit of joy and celebration inherent in the people of South Africa."
The countless tributes to him around the world are without precedent. He had 23 schools, universities and institutions named after him; 25 halls, buildings, monuments and housing developments; 13 stadiums, squares, plazas, parks and gardens; 91 streets, roads, boulevards and parks; 32 bursaries and scholarships, foundations and lectures. Thirteen statues, sculptures and artworks carry his name.
Madiba collected dozens of accolades from around the world: 18 sports-related honours and awards, and 115 other awards.
He had a range of strange items named after him: a landfill site, a spider, a sea-slug, a protea, a tea, an orchid, a rescue dog, and a racehorse.
Marriage, children and old age
Mandela and Winnie divorced in 1996. In 1998 he married Graça Machel, widow of Samora Machel, the president of Mozambique until his death in 1986.
Their wedding anniversary was the same date as his birthday – 18 July. In a 2008 interview with Mike Hanna on the Al Jazeera television network, Machel described how lonely Mandela was when she first met him.
"After 27 years in jail, what he most longed for was not the glory of political life, but to have a family life," she said. "It was a meeting of minds and a meeting of hearts." Although she hadn't wanted another marriage after Samora Machel's death, she decided that her gift to Mandela on his 80th birthday would be to marry him.
"Madiba has allowed me to continue to be myself. He has always respected my space. We have a deep sense of sharing, but at the same time we respect each other's identities.
"For a man of his age, a man who has gone through those kinds of experiences, he could have become extremely possessive. He's not. Maybe that's what love really means. We have found a balanced and respectful way of relating."
Mandela outlived three of his six children, and only three of his daughters are still alive: Makaziwe, Zenani and Zindzi. He had 18 grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and three step-grandchildren, as well as four step-children from his marriage to Machel.
Towards the end of his life he and Machel spent their time in Qunu or at their home in the upmarket suburb of Houghton, in Johannesburg. His greatest pleasure of his old age, he said, was watching the sun set, with the music of Handel or Tchaikovsky playing in the background.
A short distance from the tranquil surrounds of Houghton, his famous words from the Rivonia Trial echo on the walls of the Drill Hall in central Johannesburg:
"I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live and to achieve. But if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."
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My Parks My City kickstarts for 16days of Activism
JOHANNESBURG City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ) in partnership with safety and security stakeholders, non-governmental organisations, media partners and various tiers of government including the Department of Public Enterprise will launch the My Park, My City campaign on Tuesday, 26 November 2013 at the newly revamped Diepsloot Park in the north of Joburg.
The campaign is aimed at driving public focus on gender violence by helping communities take ownership of their neighbourhoods in a fun and healthy project. My Parks My City builds towards safer, fitter and healthier communities and is set against the backdrop of unacceptable levels of violence against women and children. The projects aim to encourage women to nurture healthy lifestyles by using public parks as sites of activism.
Apart from leisure facilities, Joburg's parks are designed with well-equipped free-to-use public gyms in areas where access to traditional gyms is limited due to financial constraints.
The high profile event led by poet and gender activist, Ms Lebo Mashile and fitness guru with access to over 200 fitness trainers, Mr Ronald Abvajee, includes classes in self-defence and a motivational talk.
The programme to be hosted at various parks in the City over the 16 days will symbolically commence in Diepsloot due to the recent spate of violence and culminate with Generations actress Anga Makubalo, leading a Guinness Book of World Records attempt for the most number of people simultaneously participating in a self-defence class.
The record breaking event takes place on the lawns of Zoo Lake in Saxonwold on Saturday, 7 December from 10:00 to 12:00 and partners are urging residents to come out in their numbers to combat gender-based crimes. A target of 3000 participants is required to break the world record.
The programme will also take place on the following dates and parks:
Tues 26 Nov 2013
DIEPSLOOT WEST King Senzangajkhona & Zukiswa Kholwani street
X:25° 55' 21.222" S
Y:28° 0' 43.716"
Wed 27 Nov 2013
PENNYVILLE Ext 1
Rietbok &Koedoe street
X:26° 13' 0.000" S
Y:27° 56' 31.862" E
Fri 29 Nov 2013
JUSKEI PARK 1
Alfred Nzo, John Brand street
X:26° 6' 8.747" S
Y:28° 6' 23.032" E
Sat 30 Nov 2013
PROTEA GLEN EXT 11
( COPESSA EVENT)
Sun 1 Dec 2013
EMMARENTIA ext 1
Time to be confirmed
Cnr Beyers Naude & Thomas Bowler street
X-26° 9' 25.683" S
Y; 28° 0' 4.290" E
Mon 2 Dec 2013
CIVIC THEATRE GARDENS
1pm – 4pm
Tue 3 Dec 2013
King George & Klein Street
X:26° 11' 44.805" S
Y:28° 2' 48.985" E
Wed 4 Dec 2013
PETRUS MOLEFE PARK (NPA)
DHLAMINI ext 5
X:26° 16' 20.193" S
Y:27° 52' 56.433" E
Thu 5 Dec 2013
ELDORADO PARK ext 3
Kremetart &Banksia street
X:26° 17' 52.577" S
Y:27° 54' 47.086" E
Fri 6 Dec 2013
ORANGE FARM EXT 1
X:26° 29' 40.674" S
Y:27° 52' 46.887" E
Sat 7 Dec 2013
Cnr Lower Park & Jan Smuts
X:26° 9' 33.390" S
Y:28° 1' 51.667" E
16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence' is an international campaign that is observed by approximately 1700 organizations and 130 countries globally.
The tree of light is an event that takes place annually in the Zoo.
Since 1989, the Hospice Tree of Light ceremony has been jointly hosted by the Jhb Zoo, The Star and Hospice.
Each year the Tree of Light is switched on to show support for people who are suffering from terminal illnesses
and to remember those loved ones who have passed on.
After the switch on, the public is invited and given an opportunity to visit the Zoo in the evening during the festive
season and to enjoy the Wildlights and the peace of comfort of picnicking in the Zoo at night.
The switching on of the Tree passes the message of goodwill and all present will observe this tradition of peace and
goodwill and hope that it continues for generations to come.
Written by Rudo Mungoshi
November 20, 2013
Zoo moves local sheep
The purity of indigenous sheep is threatened, and over the years their genetic material has been weakened by interbreeding with imported species.
Yet indigenous species are better able to adapt to the harsh environmental conditions of the area and tolerate both external and gastrointestinal parasites as well as tick-borne diseases – traits which will be increasingly important given the grim future painted by climate change experts. The Long-term Adaptation Scenarios Phase One reports, released by the Department of Environmental Affairs on 5 November, unpack the effects of projected changes in temperature, rainfall and extreme events such as floods and storms. They are expected to affect water resources, biodiversity, health and agriculture.
It is believed that climate change will cause biodiversity loss, which in turn will reduce our ability to adapt to climate change. A step in the right direction is to maintain and rebuild ecological infrastructure in vulnerable systems, ecosystem-based adaptation and expansion of protected areas using climate-resilient approaches.
Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ) is on to it, and has relocated some of its indigenous sheep to its Ruitkuil conservation farm in Parys as part of attempts to preserve their lineage. JCPZ hoof stock keeper Hilton Nemutamvuni explains that the decision to relocate five Zulu and five Bapedi sheep to the breeding facility was to strengthen the bloodlines of these two species. “The pure bloodline of the sheep existence is threatened. In order to preserve the lineage and increase pure blood numbers, we are moving the animals to Ruitkuil where they will enjoy more space.”
Zulu and Bapedi sheep are native to South Africa, and together with Swazi sheep are types of Nguni. They are primarily used as a source of food and income by farmers. Their populations started dwindling as they started mating with other species that arrived from overseas, and their bloodline and genetic diversity was affected. “Over the course of history, the Nguni and Bapedi sheep have been bred with European sheep strains and other breeds and this has resulted in a few thoroughbred Nguni species remaining,” says Nemutamvuni.
Nguni sheep are mainly found in KwaZulu-Natal and Swaziland and are highly adaptable to the harsh environmental conditions of the area. They tolerate parasites as well as tick-borne diseases. The species is small, multi-coloured and fat-tailed. There are distinguishable by their small mouse-like ears and have good foraging abilities and can walk long distances.
They migrated to South Africa with the Nguni people between 200 and 400 AD down the eastern coast to the areas where they are still found today. According to South African Indigenous Breeds, the Nguni are fertile with excellent mothering ability – ewes are very protective of their young. They are adapted to a hot, humid environment and their normal production environment is hot, humid coastal bushveld to hot dry bushveld.
Bapedi are fat-tailed sheep that arrived in South Africa between 200 and 400 AD with the Bapedi people, who migrated southwards into what is today northern South Africa, and settled in the area south of the Soutpansberg. Bapedi sheep vary in colour, but most commonly are white with a red-brown head. The fat tail is usually long and varies in shape.
The Bapedi, according to South African Indigenous Breeds, is a hardy, heat and parasite-tolerant sheep for the semi-arid bushveld. It is a small-framed naturally polled sheep with a flat shallow body and long legs. It is extremely hardy with good foraging ability and an easy gait. It has good fertility and mothering ability – the ewes will defend their young at all costs.
The normal production environment is sub-tropical bushveld to semi-arid savannah.
Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo unveils a the new Porcupine Park in Lehae
Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ) is committed to bridging the green divide by resolving recreational and environmental disparities within the City of Joburg.
A newly multifunctional park is set to be unveiled in Friday 22 November in Lehae which is a high-density, poverty distressed, new residential area based in the far south of Joburg. The launch of Porcupine Park is a greening initiative by JCPZ to expand the Joburg’s urban forest
into previously marginalised areas. The new park aims to improve the quality of life of
surrounding communities by transforming neglected open spaces into clean, safe and developed
Porcupine Park will also include a “Know your City” exhibition, an initiative aimed at
giving all municipal entities the opportunity to educate and inform residents in Lehae of
the services offered by the City of Johannesburg.
Dignitaries will unveil a plaque commemorating the event as well as participate in a
ceremonial tree planting exercise.