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Archive for June, 2010

General News

June 27, 2010

Will Mandela be at the final?

Jun 26, 2010 2:29 PM | By Sapa

Nelson Mandela’s attendance at the final of the World Cup on July 11 is uncertain, the World Cup organising committee says.

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Photograph by: FRANCK FIFE
Credit: AFP

The 91-year-old anti-apartheid icon had been expected to attend part of the opening game on June 11 in Johannesburg but withdrew after his great grand-daughter was killed in a car crash that morning.

Many are now hoping South Africa’s first black president, will make it to the final but the head of the organising committee said the frail statesman’s attendance was still undecided.

“It’s a decision he will make when he makes it. The only thing we have to do is wait,” Jordaan told a press conference.

Mandela, who turns 92 a week after the final, has curtailed his public appearances in recent years, spending most of his time at home with family.

Before the World Cup began, his daughter Zindzi said he was like an “excited child” about the tournament, which is taking place in Africa for the first time this year.

Mandela had campaigned vigorously for South Africa to be granted the right to host the mammoth event.

General News

South Africa – No sign yet if Mandela will attend final

afp, 2010/06/26 16:51

South Africa’s former president Nelson Mandela has not yet indicated if he will attend the final match of the World Cup in two weeks, the top organiser Danny Jordaan said Saturday.

“The question around Mandela is a matter that hasn’t been decided,” Jordaan told a press conference. “It is a decision he will make… The only thing we can do is to wait.”

The Nobel laureate turns 92 next month and appears frail during his rare public appearances.

He had planned to attend the opening ceremony on June 11, but cancelled at the last minute after his 13-year-old great-granddaughter was killed in a car accident on the eve of the tournament.

© Jeff Moore

General News

June 25, 2010

Mourning Mandela joins World Cup ‘in spirit’

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Mourning Mandela joins World Cup ‘in spirit’

Andrew Harding | 14:04 UK time, Thursday, 24 June 2010

Nelson Mandela will not be attending any matches during the World Cup, according to his grandson Chief Mandla Mandela.

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Mourning Mandela joins World Cup ‘in spirit’

Andrew Harding | 14:04 UK time, Thursday, 24 June 2010

Nelson Mandela will not be attending any matches during the World Cup, according to his grandson Chief Mandla Mandela.

mandla595afp.jpgThe 91-year-old former president is still in mourning for his 13-year-old great-granddaughter, Zenani, who was killed in a car accident on the eve of the World Cup tournament on 10 June.

“It’s likely to be three months of mourning,” said Mandla Mandela – a tall, imposing man whose gravel voice carries more than an echo of his grandfather.

“It depends on Zenani’s mother, but we are having a family ritual on Sunday to fix the time. We are also cautious about [Mandela’s] health – we wouldn’t want to expose him to the winter cold. The family must play a protective role.”

Thirty-six year old Mandla – also known as Chief Zwelivelile – is an MP from the ruling ANC and succeeded his grandfather as chief of the traditional council in Mvezo, the poor rural village where Nelson Mandela was born. Critics have accused him of seeking to exploit his grandfather’s name.

Mr Mandela was in Port Elizabeth for last night’s England-Slovenia match, for which 22 children from Mvezo were chosen to accompany the players onto the pitch.

He was also promoting an exhibition of World Cup-themed paintings, each signed by Nelson Mandela, which he is hoping to auction in order to raise funds for development projects in Mvezo. He is travelling to Paris next week with the same exhibition.

He told me of his grandfather’s regret that he could not attend the World Cup opening ceremony as planned, but said he’d promised to be at the tournament “in spirit.” The former president played a key role in securing the World Cup for South Africa.

His grandson said the focus “has always been about hosting, not playing” in the tournament, and he praised the impact it had already had on the country, and on its reputation abroad.

“People have come to discover a softer Africa,” he said, then pointed to a South African flag flying upside down in the hotel lobby. “Something has changed here. We are becoming more patriotic. People finally want to be identified with the national flag, and they now understand how it should hang – that’s the wrong side up. My grandfather was forever utilising sport for nation-building and this World Cup will forever be remembered as the moment we all rallied around the team.”

General News

Former President Clinton meets with Nelson Mandela

(AP) – 16 hours ago

JOHANNESBURG — Former U.S. President Bill Clinton paid a visit to South Africa’s Former President Nelson Mandela on the sidelines of the World Cup tournament.

After the meeting, Clinton spoke at the Nelson Mandela Foundation Thursday, praising Mandela’s life and encouraging the celebration of the former South African leader’s legacy. He said Mandela’s birthday should be a day of service.

Clinton also congratulated South Africa for the work it has done to host the World Cup saying the country has been given a chance to set a standard from which the world can learn.

Nelson Mandela Day is celebrated yearly and occurs on July 18, his birthday.

General News

June 18, 2010

Mandela Attends Great-Granddaughter’s Funeral

Published: June 17, 2010

JOHANNESBURG — Nelson Mandela attended funeral services on Thursday for his 13-year-old great-granddaughter, whose death in a car accident on June 11 brought a somber start to the monthlong World Cup.

It was a rare public appearance for Mr. Mandela. The frail, 91-year-old hero of South Africa’s freedom struggle was bundled in a long black overcoat to fend off the winter chill. A pink corsage was pinned to his lapel.

He emerged from a black limousine and was then transferred to a golf cart that ferried him to the brick chapel of the school once attended by the girl, Zenani Mandela. Relatives helped him as he took small steps to a front pew.

He sat somberly during the farewell, occasionally smiling when anyone recalled moments of joy and laughter in Zenani’s short life.

The chapel of St. Stithians College, where Zenani had attended school, was crowded with hundreds of mourners, including classmates dressed in their blue uniforms. The song “Lean on Me” was played while a slideshow provided images of Zenani with her family and friends.

She was an “old soul who knew things even adults didn’t know,” her grandfather Oupa Seakamela told the assemblage.

The girl, the great-granddaughter of Mr. Mandela and his second wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, died in a one-car crash during her return from a “kickoff concert” for the soccer tournament. A close family friend, Sizwe Mankazana, 23, was the driver. The police arrested him at the scene and said he was suspected of drunken driving and culpable homicide. His appearance in court has been postponed until July 26 as an investigation continues.

Mr. Mankazana is the son of Zwelakhe Mankazana, who is in a relationship with Zenani Mandela-Dlamini, a daughter of Mr. Mandela and the great aunt of her namesake, the deceased girl. The young man’s involvement deepens the tragedy. According to a statement from the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Sizwe Mankazana is “considered part of the Mandela family.”

The funeral service followed an earlier private burial and it lasted for several hours. Mr. Mandela left early. Several speakers described Zenani and expressed their deep grief. A message from the girl’s bereft mother, Zoleka Mandela-Seakamela, was read aloud.

“I should have let you sleep longer when you told me you were tired,” the message said, according to the Nelson Mandela Foundation. “I should have let you wear all the makeup in the world.

“I should have given you more money, more hugs, more kisses, and I should have whispered more in your ear ‘I love you.’

“If I did all this would you come back to me, even if it was only for a few seconds? I want to hold you in my arms one last time.”

Source : New York Times

General News

June 11, 2010

Mandela to skip World Cup opening after great-grandchild dies in wreck

(CNN) — Former South African President Nelson Mandela will not attend Friday’s opening of the World Cup soccer tournament after the death of his great-grandchild in a car crash, a representative said.

“It would therefore be inappropriate for him to personally attend the FIFA World Cup opening celebrations,” said Sello Hatang, from the Mandela Foundation.

“We are sure that South Africans and people all over the world will stand in solidarity with Mr. Mandela and his family in the aftermath of this tragedy.”

Zenani Mandela, 13, died early Friday morning while returning from the World Cup soccer tournament’s kick-off concert, the foundation said. She was in a car returning from the show at Orlando Stadium when the wreck occurred.

No other vehicle was involved in the wreck, the foundation said.

The driver was arrested for culpable homicide and drunk driving, police told CNN.

Zenani turned 13 on Wednesday. She was one of Mandela’s nine great-grandchildren.

The former leader had been expected to attend Friday’s World Cup kickoff, his grandson Nkosi Mandela confirmed on Tuesday.

Mandela, who is 91, played a key role in bringing the World Cup to South Africa but has made limited public appearances recently, although he did meet the South Africa squad last week.

General News

Mandela Grandchild Dies in Crash

Associated Press

JOHANNESBURG—Nelson Mandela’s 13-year-old great-granddaughter was killed in a car crash on the way home from a concert in Soweto on the eve of the World Cup, his office said Friday.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation said Zenani Mandela died in a one-car accident after attending the World Cup kickoff concert at the Orlando Stadium.

The foundation said later Mr. Mandela wouldn’t attend Friday’s World Cup opening ceremony and game in Johannesburg, dashing South Africans’ hopes the frail 91-year-old former president would make a rare appearance.

Mr. Mandela and his family were torn up” by the accident, the foundation added. A foundation spokesman said that Mr. Mandela would be at the ceremony in spirit.

Johannesburg Metro police spokeswoman Edna Mamonyane said the driver of the car, a man, had been arrested and charged with drink-driving. Mr. Mamonyane said the driver, who police would not name, could also face culpable homicide charges.

“The Metro police found that he was drunk,” Mr. Mamonyane said. “He lost control of the vehicle and it collided with a barricade.”

The Mandela foundation has also denied reports that the former president’s ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was in the car. “She was not in the car,” foundation spokesman Sello Hatang said.

Mr. Hatang asked that the Mandela family be given space to mourn, adding that Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was treated for shock at a hospital after being informed of the accident and the death of her great-granddaughter. Mr. Hatang said Ms. Madikizela-Mandela was admitted “for a few hours” and had now been released.

Thursday’s World Cup concert had drawn tens of thousands of people to Soweto, and traffic was congested into the early hours Friday.

Zenani, who celebrated her 13th birthday June 9, was one of the antiapartheid icon’s nine great-grandchildren. “The family has asked for privacy as they mourn this tragedy,” the foundation said in a statement.

Mr. Mandela, who turns 92 on July 18, has largely retired from public life although it had been anticipated he would make a brief appearance at the World Cup opening ceremony Friday, depending on his health and the weather conditions.

In a statement Thursday, the Foundation said it had been “inundated with requests for meetings, and it will be impossible for Mr. Mandela to accede to even a small fraction of these.”

But Mr. Mandela met this week with members of the Black Eyed Peas, one of the main acts at Thursday’s concert, and Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo and coach Carlos Queiroz—the latter a former coach of South Africa.

General News

June 9, 2010

Family Says Mandela Will Attend World Cup Opener

The family of Nelson Mandela says he will make a brief appearance at the World Cup’s opening ceremony in Johannesburg Friday.

Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, the family spokesman, had previously said his 91-year-old grandfather was too frail to attend the ceremony and opening match.

But he told reporters Tuesday that Mr. Mandela will likely greet fans and players for 10 to 15 minutes before heading home.

Any kind of appearance by Mr. Mandela would stir deep emotion in the crowd and most of South Africa.

Mr. Mandela is widely revered for his role in bringing down apartheid, South Africa’s former system of white minority rule and discrimination against blacks.

After five years as the country’s first post-apartheid president, Mr. Mandela worked to bring the World Cup to South Africa. This year’s tournament marks the first time the Cup is playing played on the African continent.

The former president appeared in Johannesburg earlier this week, greeting players on South Africa’s national team and wearing a yellow team jersey.

General News

June 6, 2010

World Cup enthusiasm on a par with Mandela release: Zuma

Pretoria – The level of enthusiasm in South Africa in the run-up to the football World Cup is on a par with the excitement that reigned 20 years ago when anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela was released from prison, President Jacob Zuma said Sunday.

Addressing a joint press conference with FIFA president Joseph Blatter five days before kick-off, Zuma noted there had been an “explosion” of patriotism in the host country, which has wrapped itself in the rainbow colours of its flag.

“The enthusiasm, joy and excitement that has engulfed the entire nation in recent weeks has not been witnessed since president Mandela was released from prison,” Zuma said.

“The South African flag has become the most popular item on the shopping list of South Africans,” Zuma said, adding: “This augurs well for nation building.”

Mandela spent 27 years in prison for resisting racist rule before becoming the country’s first black president between 1994 and 1999. The scenes of joy that followed his release from prison in February 1990 were unprecedented at the time in South African history.

Sixteen years into democracy, South Africa was experiencing another “explosion of national pride”, Zuma said.

While analysts have expressed doubts at the economic benefit of hosting the month-long tournament, the pride unleased by the cup was a “priceless benefit,” Zuma said.

“South Africa is more than ready. For us the World Cup has already begun,” said Zuma.

Both Zuma and Blatter expressed hopes that Mandela would be able to attend the opening game between South Africa and Mexico in Johannesburg’s Soweto township on Friday.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, which manages the frail nonagenarian’s diary, has refused to confirm whether he will attend.

Source :-,world-cup-enthusiasm-on-a-par-with-mandela-release-zuma.html

General News

June 5, 2010

The Nelson Mandela World Cup – New York Times

June 5, 2010, 11:41 AM

The Nelson Mandela World Cup


In 2000 I worked with the Bafana Bafana soccer team, which was then coached by Carlos Queiroz. It was preparing for the African Cup of Nations Cup. There were three indelible memories from my time there — and most of them came off the soccer field.

The first was the incredible natural beauty and power of South Africa. The lightning storms were spectacular — the cracking sounds of the lightning makes you realize how we are not in charge. Going to the Lost City and taking a safari was spectacular. Seeing the big five: elephant, lion, rhino, leopard and buffalo forced you to respect wildlife. The roar of the lion puts you on alert — immediately. The power of the rhino makes you realize that you belong inside the jeep. The massive size and strength of the elephant makes you understand why they have survived so many years. The speed of the leopard makes you realize they were untouchable and the buffalo’s stare freezes you in your tracks.

The Mystery and Magic of Muti

The second memory was when South Africa was preparing for its match against the World Cup and European champion France.

I was in the locker room and one of the assistant coaches said: “I know you have attended a number of coaching courses and have traveled the world. What is about to happen no book or course has ever prepared you for.”

I was concerned. I quickly took a step back and put my back up against the wall. All of a sudden there was a peculiar knock on our door. The locker room went silent. Muti entered the room.

Who is Muti? Muti was a witch doctor wearing a tribal costume. He began chanting and spreading white powder and what seemed to be small bone chips around the locker room. Then — poof! — he disappeared. Not into thin air, but he walked out of the locker. One by one each South African player began singing his tribe’s battle song until at the end they were all singing the same song. It is impossible to share the spirit that filled that locker room. It was a special environment

We played France to a scoreless draw. The South African players demonstrated imagination, creativity, elegance, power, speed and no fear in taking risks. At the time, I was also coaching the A League Connecticut Wolves and was on the hunt for players. But instead of taking home some players, I took home a bit of Muti with me!

Handshake of Inspiration

The last and the most profound memory was when the national team of Portugal was invited to Nelson Mandela’s compound.

Having had the opportunity to listen to Mandela share his journey to freedom while he was in prison for 29 years was amazing. We shook hands and to this day I can feel that handshake. Nelson Mandela was a former boxer. His hands were strong and thick.

Today when I encounter what I perceive as problems I reflect back to our handshake and realize that my problems tiny compared to his. I realize how trivial my issues are. His smile transmitted peace and serenity. He was so gracious and patient. He loves soccer. But in all my work in the game, with players and world-class coaches, none have impressed me or had a greater impact than meeting Nelson Mandela.

Ten years after that first encounter, I have returned to South Africa to participate in the World Cup with Portugal’s national team. My hope is that once again I have the privilege and honor of shaking Nelson Mandela’s hand.

Dan Gaspar is the men’s coach at the University of Hartford, and president of Connecticut Soccer School and Star Goalkeeper Academy. He is on the coaching staff of Portugal’s national team and will be contributing to the Goal blog in the run-up to and during the World Cup in South Africa.

Source : New York Times