In recent memory, there hasn't been another memorial service attended by so many dignitaries. Why was Mandela so special? What makes him worthy of this attention?
Now is the time for an honest, dignified, and multilateral dialogue on the international community's role in the pursuit of global justice, peace, and prosperity. Anything less would dishonor the great Madiba.
The examples and lessons of the heroes that emerged at the end of the last century are more relevant than ever to the real and projected fears, threats, and challenges facing us in this one.
Fox News curmudgeon Bill O'Reilly is reported to have acknowledged that Mandela was a "great man," but at the same time dismissed him because "he was a communist." I think O'Reilly, as usual, had it wrong
In South Africa, there were scores of rappers, but the most potent and most political was Prophets of Da City (POC) who wound up being banned by the government because of their lyrics.
Global Yodel caught up with Cape Town local Anthea Hartzenberg and asked her about life in South Africa.
Nelson Mandela was and is a Freedom Fighter. He was a man who lived in a nation where the color of his skin and his aboriginal birth made him a person without rights, human, civil or otherwise.
What was it about this man that makes him the obvious, and for many of us, the only hero of our time? On one level, he was saintly. On another, he was practical. He wanted to create harmony.
In late February of 1990, just two weeks after being released from prison, Nelson Mandela met with Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasir Arafat. Afterwards Mandela spoke publicly of his affinity with the Palestinian people and his support for their struggle.
Growing up in South Africa in the 1970s and '80s, images of Mandela were banned and the apartheid government made it illegal to publish any of his words. The few pictures I did see were grainy or a censor's black bar was pasted across Mandela's face. He was a man of mystery.
Madiba was that singular, solid, reassuring force for a country slowly, fitfully transforming itself from one of the world's most oppressive regimes into one of its most progressive young democracies.
Nelson Mandela was a man of many gifts. Perhaps the most powerful was his ability to speak truth to power. That is why he consistently spoke out against nuclear weapons. He saw no difference in fighting the bomb, colonialism, or racism.
There will be so much written about Nelson Mandela in the wake of his passing -- about his personal history, the struggle for equality in South Africa, his political contributions -- but, I fear, there will be little discussion about his impact on the arts of South Africa, and the world.
I did not know Nelson Mandela nor did I work with him -- but I can safely say the whole world is mourning the loss of one of the world's great leaders.
Calling Mandela a Communist or a terrorist shortly after his death is mean-spirited, but it is a bigger condemnation of the moral blindness of much of U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War than it is a criticism of Mandela.
Mandela was a giant of a statesman, whose passing leaves us with pigmies at the helm of most countries. But when someone dies after giving a lifetime to humanity, we should at least pay them the respect of addressing what they said, even if we disagree with them.