Nigerian media celebrate Mandela at 90

Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- As the world celebrated the 90th birthday of South Afric a's freedom fighter and first post-apertheid President Nelson Mandela, the Niger i an media went to town this week, devoting editorials and opinion lead articles t o the Madiba.
The Guardian newspaper captioned its editorial "Nelson Mandela at 90"; the Daily Independent: in its editorial opinion, used the headline "Celebrating Nelson Ma d iba Mandela at 90" and Thisday newspaper's opinion "Celebrating Mandela at 90".
The Punch newspaper published an opinion article on Mandela, written by Mike Woo ldridge, under the headline "Mandela, the sensitive leader at 90" while the Vang u ard newspaper in another opinion article by Owei Lakemfa, headlined it "The mora l authority called Mandela".
According to the Guardian, "Nelson Rolihlahla ('troublemaker') Mandela was the s on of a Xhosa-speaking Thembu chief, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa.
He attended the U n iversity of Forte Hare in Alice, where he became involved in fervid political st r uggle against the racial discrimination practised in South Africa.
"The new South African Constitution, which Nelson Mandela signed into law in 199 6, allows a maximum of two terms for a president.
Mandela voluntarily elected to quit office in 1999, after a single term in office, very much unlike many other A frican leaders; nor does he belong to the category of African presidents who shi f t the goal-post (amending their constitutions to incorporate longer terms of off i ce).
The Guardian described "Nelson Mandela as a veritable man of the people, self-ab negating, humanistic and altruistic.
Upon his release from prison in 1990, his p e ople made to usher him into a palatial edifice.
In his words, "There were many i n the ANC who advised me to move to the home a few blocks away, in Diepkloof exte n sion, that Winnie had built while I was in prison.
"It was a grand place by Soweto standards, but it was a house that held no meani ng or memories for me.
Moreover, it was a house that, because of its size and ex p ense, seemed somehow inappropriate for a leader of the people.
I rejected that a d vice.
I wanted to live not only among the people, but like them.
" "As Nelson Mandela, popularly called the "Madiba", celebrates his 90th birthday today, we join the rest of the world to proffer our bouquets to this pre-eminent African son, this moral torchbearer of our world, and this quintessential great m an.
We congratulate him on his selfless achievements and longevity," the Guardia n wrote.
In the opinion of the Daily Independent, "It is worth mentioning that Mandela - just like Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
- was greatly influenced by the non-violent protest methods of India's Mahatma Gandhi.
Like Gandhi, he believed in facing ad v ersity with dignity.
"Be that as it may, he was pushed to renouncing the non-violent means of overtur ning apartheid by the buoying popularity of more radical groups like the Pan Afr i can Congress (PAC) as well as the frustrating lack of progress from peaceful mea s ures.
He consequently conceded that there was no effective alternative to an arm e d struggle, culminating in the formation of the MK.
According to the tabloid, "Two actions go a long way to further highlight the mo ral fibre and large-heartedness of Mandela: He refused to support the cry for a n ame change of the Parliament because Hendrik Verwoerd (the assassinated aparthei d -era Premier after whom the complex was named) was the man that sent him to jail .
He also refused to approve the destruction of Pieter Botha's statue (1st Execut i ve President of apartheid South Africa).
"At a time that very little positive news is emanating from Africa, it is exhila rating that the world would be celebrating the life and times of this global ico n - Nelson Mandela: a 24-carat 20th Century gem from Africa to the rest of the wo r ld.
Daily Independent wishes the Madiba a memorable 90th birthday anniversary.
Thisday newspaper, in its opinion wrote "Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela is indeed a l iving legend.
He is 90 years old today.
Weeks before his 90th birthday, the wor l d could literally not wait to celebrate him.
On June 27, 2008 a very well attend e d and colourful musical concert was held for him at Hyde Park, London.
"Although he now walks slowly with the support of a stick and aids, he still has much life in him.
While calling on African leaders to learn a lesson or two fro m this worthy son of Africa, we wish Madiba many," the paper wrote.
Wooldridge wrote in his opinion in The Punch "He (Mandela) dedicated his life to a political crusade and became South Africa’s first black president, but Nelson Mandela never lost the personal touch – as those who know him explain.
Nelson Ma n dela’s release from jail after 27 years, in 1990, brought hope of sweeping polit i cal change after the turbulent days of apartheid.
Lakemfa, in the Vanguard newspaper opinion also wrote that Mandela "is not even clothed in any religious garb.
He is simply human and his life, like his first w i fe Evelyn Mase and second wife Winnie Madikizela attested, is like that of any o t her mortal with all its fallibles.
"Mandela’s towering figure, his transformations through life and embodiment of t he struggles of the weak and colonised and their eventual triumph, makes him a v e ry difficult personality to capture in a single write-up.
"I have therefore limited myself to a tiny aspect of his life; the moral authori ty he wields.
Never in history has anybody of African descent wielded so much m o ral authority in the world as Nelson Mandela.
According to Lakemfa, "Mandela was not born a legend, he acquired it.
He used to say that “Nurture, rather than nature, is the primary moulder of personality”.
T o be able to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s ninetieth birthday, no matter how tangen t ially, is an historic honour.

19 july 2008 09:56:00

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