Remembering Nelson Mandela 1918 to 2013

This is the official photo of Mandela casting his vote in the 1994 elections. It was the first time Mandela had voted in his life. It was taken at Ohlange School, Inanda, Durban by the IEC's official photographer, Paul Weinberg. It is one of only two images of this event.

This is the official photo of Mandela casting his vote in the 1994 elections. It was the first time Mandela had voted in his life. It was taken at Ohlange School, Inanda, Durban by the IEC’s official photographer, Paul Weinberg. It is one of only two images of this event.

The world is awash in memorials and remembrances of Nelson Mandela. ReadTheSpirit, here, offers some texts, columns and reflections on his life and the struggle for freedom in South Africa that you won’t find without our help. Please, remember, reflect and recommit yourself to peacemaking …

HONORING NELSON MANDELA’S COURAGE

U.S. President Barack Obama honored Mandela, on behalf of the American people, quoting from Mandela’s famous 1964 address to the court that ultimately convicted him and sent him to prison for nearly three decades. We have the complete text of Obama’s remarks, courtesy of the White House. Then, we also have an extended excerpt from Mandela’s own historic address to the court that convicted him, from 1964.

INTERVIEW WITH MPHO TUTU

In their book Made for Goodness, Desmond Tutu and his daughter Mpho Tutu welcome us into their South African family—a courageous community of relatives and friends who produced one of the great miracles in modern history: the end of Apartheid. This 2010 author interview, we get Tutu’s perspective on the historic events that unfolded out of South Africa. In a separate piece, Mpho Tutu also provided her perspective on the movie, Invictus.

MANDELA, INVICTUS & OTHER MEDIA

In 2011, we marked Mandela’s 93rd birthday, which coincided with the 200th birthday of William Makepeace Thackery, the acid-penned writer who originally composed Invictus. AND, if you’re thinking of watching Invictus to honor Mandela, you’ll also want to read faith-and-film writer Ed McNulty’s review—and discussion guide—to that film. Then, in addition to that Invictus study guide, Ed McNulty immediately posted an additional column, reflecting on a wide range of films and other media related to Mandela’s career.

“HAVE YOU HEARD FROM JOHANNESBURG?”

The ultimate film documentary on the decades-long campaign to defeat Apartheid is Have You Heard from Johannesburg, a truly monumental achievement produced in part for national PBS airing in 2012. Read about this documentary and you may also want to follow links in the story to PBS’s website, where you can find out more about the production.

SEAMUS HEANEY & “THE CURE AT TROY”

In remembrance of Mandela and celebration of his legacy, we are likely to hear lines from Seamus Heaney’s poem, The Cure at Troy, which was written at about the time Mandela was about to be released from prison. Here is our story, written when Heaney died, about his frequently quoted poem. If these lines intrigue you, then you’ll also want to look back to a poem written by noted peace activist Ken Sehested called The Deuteronomist, which echoes Heaney’s and Mandela’s spirits.

SOUTH AFRICAN CENTENNIAL & INTERFAITH CONNECTIONS

In 2010, Stephanie Fenton’s Holidays column marked a centennial celebration in South Africa, including a number of key interfaith connections.

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