National News

An iconic figure viewed through the eyes of others

By Ashahed M. Muhammad -Assistant Editor- | Last updated: Dec 27, 2013 - 6:29:18 PM

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CHICAGO ( - Nelson Mandela will be remembered as the man who became the symbol of the oppression suffered by millions under the regime of South Africa’s apartheid government, and as with any towering historical figure, their lives and legacies are seen differently through the various lenses of those who have observed them over time.

Many gathered at the Beloved Community Christian Church of God in Christ, the church home of Congressman Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) December 15 to participate in what they called the “People’s Memorial Tribute” to the man affectionately called ‘Madiba.’

Betsy Farley, a member of the Socialists Workers Party disagreed strongly with Mandela being portrayed by the mainstream media.

“I think Nelson Mandela was a revolutionary,” said Ms. Farley. “I think that the true history of Nelson Mandela and the democratic revolution that took place in South Africa is being covered up by the major media and all the politicians,” she added.

Ms. Farley said the “massive movement” to overthrow the apartheid regime in South Africa could be a cause for inspiration for young people and workers once properly understood. In her view, although the anti-apartheid forces were successful, global capitalism itself should still be the target.

“Today in South Africa, coal miners have been on strike, gold miners, and platinum miners along with working people of all occupations all over South Africa. They are trying to organize to take the next step. Getting rid of apartheid was just the first step. Now it is a question of the working class taking power in South Africa,” she added.

Dr. Ausaf Sayeed
Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, consul general of India said it was the best tribute he could think of for such a great man to be honored by people of all different races and ethnicities and from all over the world.

“We regard Nelson Mandela as a great personality, we revere him, just as we revere our father of our nation Mahatma Gandhi who was also an apostle of peace who liberated India from colonial rule exactly as Nelson Mandela liberated South Africa from apartheid, and showed the world the path to peace and progress with opportunity and equality for everyone,” he added.

Sherod Carter, a 16-year-old student at Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy said what stood out most about Mandela’s life is how he forgave those who kept him in prison unjustly for 27 years.

“It’s a good thing for everyone to come together to celebrate what he did and how he affected them,” he noted.

“I am so happy that everybody got together to do this. I know so many people would have loved to have seen this and been here and the speakers were top notch,” said Sonia Hassan, a member of Egyptians Abroad for Development,  a non-profit organization that provides resources and expertise aimed at promoting  social and economic development in the rebuilding of Egypt.

“There was a lot of honesty in a lot of their talks which I feel is so important. We can honor Nelson Mandela but we have to also honor him in the complete fashion—who he was, what he did and how he was treated throughout his entire life,” said Ms. Hassan.