Tata taught humility - grandchild

2013-12-15 12:50


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Qunu - Former president Nelson Mandela taught his grandchildren humility and accountability, his granddaughter Nandi Mandela said at his state funeral in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, on Sunday.

"I stand here today, humbled to be the one representing all of the children and grandchildren of Tatamkhulu," she said.

"Tatamkhulu means grandfather and, like all South Africans and people around the world, we are proud of his achievements and he makes us want to make him proud."

Mandela commanded respect and when former SA Communist Party general secretary Chris Hani was assassinated in April 1993, the country was on a knife's edge and could easily have slid into war, she said.

"He [Mandela] persuaded people to calm down and the people listened. When Louis Luyt took him to court, he did not have to appear but he always remained humble and accountable and taught us to do the same."

Luyt was the president of the SA Rugby Union and refused to appear before a presidential commission of inquiry into allegations of racism in 1998. His refusal forced Mandela to have to testify in court. The court eventually found against Luyt.

Nandi said Mandela was a true leader and servant of the people and his mission had been to make life better for the underprivileged.

"He truly cared for his children and grandchildren. He shared his life with them and provided for them, including his extended family," she said.

Stories of his childhood

"He took it upon himself to make sure we all had a good education. During his presidency and after he stepped down, he made sure the children of Qunu always had a beautiful Christmas. They came in their thousands and he made sure each one received a gift and a meal."

After a while, it became impossible for Mandela to fund the festivities from his own pocket, and the business people in Qunu contributed, she said.

"His gesture made others want to do good and that is the lesson he taught us."

Mandela was always fun to be around and Nandi Mandela said she missed hearing his voice over the past year.

"At dinner he always told us stories and poked fun at himself as he recounted stories of his childhood."

Friends, colleagues, comrades and family of Nelson Mandela are invited to share their memories and tributes, and to light a candle for him, on his profile at Remembered.co.za.

Nelson Mandela will be laid to rest in Qunu. Say your final farewell and be published on News24 by e-mailing or uploading.

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