Last night I again found myself in Houghton, Johannesburg. This time around I was at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, where there was a celebratory service being held for the late statesman. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu led the service, which was attended by musician Peter Gabriel, Johannesburg Mayer, Parks Tau, human rights lawyer George Bizos, media from all over the world and of course some of Madiba’s VSPs (Very Special Persons).
Bishop Tutu is a fantastic speaker. He is funny, heartfelt, intelligent and definitely not shy. The only time he got ‘shy’ was when he met eyes with his wife who was front and centre at the service. Here is a little clip from his address:
Some of most loved musicians were also in attendance. The Grammy-winning Soweto Gospel Choir kicked things off. They were then joined by Johnny Clegg, who sang a very moving version of Asimbonanga (see below). Danny K, Mamma Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Lloyd Cele, Ed Jordan, Louise Carver, Ross from Prime Circle and Sipho Hotstix Mabuse all took to the stage too. It was truly a celebration of the man we all loved, cherished and respected.
Today is the official state memorial. The programme is expected to commence at 11am, CAT. Check your local listings to see when you can watch the proceedings.
My family and I send our condolences to all the Mandela family members on the passing of Tata. We also share with all South Africans and the global community our sense of loss and sadness at his passing.
Nelson Mandela will always define a deep part of what and who are as individuals and as a nation. It is difficult to separate the great journey to secure a democratic and non-racial South Africa from his personal qualities and character. For all South Africans he was the face and form of that voyage, particularly in the crucial decade of 1990 – 2000.
In the defining and tempestuous years of 1990 through to April 27th 1994 his leadership never gave the impression that he was overwhelmed by events, even in the darkest hours of Boipatong and other atrocities that were meant to derail the negotiations. When at times we felt doubt or fear, his strong resonant voice rolled out over the radio or TV and, like a tide going out, our reservations about the future receded. We took immense nourishment and succor from his fearless and positive attitude. His charismatic openness, straight aim, direct but respectful communication with his opponents was a singularly rare quality in a time of racist and right wing demagoguery. A country in turmoil needs to feel that the Ship of State, riding the storm, is in good hands and he never gave us cause to doubt that the storm would pass and the country would be free. It is the qualities of tolerance and forgiveness however which stand out as his lasting legacy as well as the way he used these to unite the country both during and after his presidency.
With all our fellow South Africans we acknowledge with deep gratitude the debt we owe to this Man from Qunu, who bequeathed us this great country of promise. Today, although we grieve, we also proudly rejoice in his remarkable life, which we were privileged to share through extraordinary times.
Love Love Love Joburg Day… It’s a brilliant day in the sun, filled with loads of talent and it’s heaps of fun. The show is presented by regional station, 94.7 Highveld Stereo. Details:
1. 17 October 2009.
2. R200 per adult, including Computicket charges (13 years and older)
R70 for kids under 12 years old, including Computicket charges
3. Riversands Farm, Fourways Johannesburg. Nice venue. The Coca Cola Zero Festival was there this year, so it’ll be cool.
The line-up is as follows:
* Flash Republic
* Prime Circle
* Zebra & Giraffe
* Dr. Victor and the Rasta Rebels
* Jason Hartman (Idols 2009 co-winner)
* Sasha-Lee Davids (Idols 2009 co-winner)
* Jody Williams (Idols 2008 winner)
* Johnny Clegg
* Danny K
* Jesse Clegg
He’s known to many as “The White Zulu” and he’s been in the industry for over thirty years now. He’s a legend, who played and integral part in the struggle against the Apartheid government, prior to democracy in 1994. Now the star is busy gearing up for his new show called ‘The Heart Of The Dancer,’ which is showing at Emperor’s Palace in Johannesburg. The show celebrates Johnny’s career and how the different forms of dance have influenced and played a part in his very successful career. Johnny is my guest on The Von Vodcast this week, check it out: