Mandela was thoughtful - Manuel

2013-12-12 07:17
Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel. (File: Sapa)

Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel. (File: Sapa)

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Cape Town - Former president Nelson Mandela will be remembered for thoughtfulness in all his actions, Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel said at the global icon's memorial event in Cape Town on Wednesday.

"All of his life, Madiba lived for his people," he said to some 50 000 people at the Cape Town stadium, under a clear evening sky.

"We celebrate the life of a leader who thought about life, who planned his actions."

Manuel said the one thing that stood out about the statesman in his militant years was his discipline.

While in prison, Mandela wrote a letter to his wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, telling her not to worry about a big house or car, and focus instead on "what's inside of yourself".

Manuel said Mandela had written about honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, generosity, the readiness to serve others and the absence of vanity.

"If we can all think of these values, then each of us can be a little Madiba to take forward the spirit of our country."

The crowd responded with loud applause.

Manuel said Mandela had been completely generous, even in the way he had left the Earth by withdrawing gently over many months.

Manuel urged South Africans to come together and listen to each other in this time of mourning, to hear the pain of those without houses, jobs and access to water.

"Long live Mandela, long live," he shouted repeatedly, the masses echoing his cries.

Scottish singer and philanthropist Annie Lennox, who confirmed her appearance at the last minute, did not make a speech or sing and instead chose to chant a poem against backdrop of African drums.

"What did he [Mandela] say? He said HIV and Aids was a genocide... 10 years ago there was a silence, there was a stigma, there was a fear and people were dying like flies."

Mandela was praised for raising awareness about the disease and fighting the stigma.

Lennox said despite his legacy, the country remained the most violent in terms of rape.

"Where is Madiba? He's with all of us. What is he saying? Stop the violence, stop the poverty."

Lennox was invited to the launch of the "46664" campaign launch in 2003 and has been active in promoting awareness of HIV/Aids in women and children.

- SAPA

Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  trevor manuel  |  cape town
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