Nelson Mandela dies today – a biography

Nelson Mandela

South Africa’s first black president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela has died, South Africa’s president says.

Mr Mandela, 95, led South Africa’s transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s, after 27 years in prison.

He had been receiving intense home-based medical care for a lung infection after three months in hospital.

In a statement on South African national TV, Mr Zuma said Mr Mandela had “departed” and was at peace.

He said Mr Mandela would receive a full state funeral, and flags would be flown at half-mast.

BBC correspondents say Mr Mandela’s body will be moved to a mortuary in Pretoria, and the funeral is likely to take place next Saturday.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate was one of the world’s most revered statesmen after preaching reconciliation despite being imprisoned for 27 years.

He had rarely been seen in public since officially retiring in 2004.

“What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves,” Mr Zuma said.

“Fellow South Africans, Nelson Mandela brought us together and it is together that we will bid him farewell.”

UK Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to Mr Mandela, saying “a great light has gone out in the world”.

Since he was released from hospital, the South African presidency repeatedly described Mr Mandela’s condition as critical but stable.

Born in 1918, Nelson Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1943, as a law student.

He and other ANC leaders campaigned against apartheid (white-only rule).

He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964, but was released in 1990 as South Africa began to move away from strict racial segregation.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and was elected South Africa’s first black president in 1994. He stepped down after five years in office.

After leaving office, he became South Africa’s highest-profile ambassador, campaigning against HIV/Aids and helping to secure his country’s right to host the 2010 football World Cup.

He was also involved in peace negotiations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and other countries in Africa and elsewhere.

From BBC NEWS – Africa

President Obama meets king of Morocco

barack_obama_mohammed_VIObama and Morocco’s King Meet at White House

WASHINGTON November 22, 2013 (AP) – ABC News.

 President Barack Obama hosted Morocco’s King Mohammed VI at the White House on Friday for talks on furthering democracy in the Middle East and countering violent extremism.

Arriving at the White House, the king was greeted by a military honor guard that lined the driveway to the West Wing. In the Oval Office, Obama and King Mohammed made no public remarks before photographers were ushered out.

Ahead of the meeting, the White House said Obama planned to discuss U.S. support for democratic and economic reforms in Morocco and efforts to promote reform in the Middle East and Africa. Cooperation on countering violent extremism was also on the agenda, the White House said. Fighting terrorism in North Africa is a major U.S. national security priority.

“The U.S. has made clear that Morocco’s autonomy plan is serious, realistic and credible and that it represents a potential approach that could satisfy the aspirations of the people in the Western Sahara to run their own affairs in peace and dignity,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Malala Yousafzai awarded European prize for freedom of thought

(A video from The Guardian is after the article – click on the link to view it)malala-europe

16 years old Pakistani schoolgirl and campaigner Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban a year ago after campaigning for better rights for girls in Pakistan, has received the EU’s Sakharov human rights prize at a ceremony in Strasbourg.

The 50,000 euro ($65,000) prize is considered Europe’s top human rights award.

“I am hopeful the European Parliament will look beyond Europe to the suffering countries where people are still deprived of their basic rights, their freedom of thought is suppressed, freedom of speech is enchained,” Ms Yousafzai said.

“Many children have no food to eat, no water to drink and children are starving for education. It is alarming that 57 million children are deprived of education… this must shake our conscience.”

She began her speech with a famous quote from 18th Century French philosopher Voltaire: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

She said children in countries such as Pakistan “do not want an iPhone, a PlayStation or chocolates, they just want a book and a pen”.

MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) gave her a standing ovation.

You can see her and listen to parts of her speech here :

Malala Yousafzai awarded Sakharov prize for freedom of thought – video | World news | theguardian.com.

I am Malala : a rap song about freedom for girls.

Lyrics :

Look, I wanna make a nation proud, one day we’ll say things loud and be free

with the power of our speech we can change our world and how it’s perceived

we’ve got doubts and beliefs but not one thing’s truly out of our reach

don’t tell me the sky’s the limit cause nothing can pull me down

when I dream I’m working on turning ‘em into a reality and opening eyes

and sharing a vision with every person who had chosen to be blind

I wanna focus their minds to show that despite we’re broken inside

we can stand powerful together without a cloak or disguise

I hope in the future that I can look back on a new generation that’s peaceful

that’s grateful they’re equal cause those before made a change for the people

with paints and an easel we picture perfect drew our attention to making the most of our time

creating more than useless inventions

I’m only young so I guess it’s down for you to decide

would you choose to fight for what you believe in would you do what is right

if I needed you would you stand tall with me right here by my side

be the change you want to see, take a look through my eyes

I am Malala I am infinite hope I am Malala, I am, I am, I am I am Malala I am infinite hope

I am Malala, I am, I am, I am I am Malala

They say the harder the culture, they say the harder the girl

I say the smarter the girl, then the stronger our world

from a country where we made fortunes of others’ misfortunes

and betray our own people then we mourn for a portion of time

always taught to fight for my rights

Malala fought for education then she fought for her life

it’s hard to strive to be better when oppressed by the suppressors

treated like the lesser, just be clever ignore the ignorance

from the ignorant society is ridiculous but it’s the world that we’re living in

chauffeurs our drive and denies our desire being silent doesn’t help,

it adds fuel to the fire how can somebody young like me even find any truth

when nobody’s looking for truth in the youth life isn’t a choice,

so who are we to say what’s void and Malala gave a voice to me cuz…

hard work and talent equals infinite growth

in school a child and a teacher equals infinite hope…  🙂