“We, the people of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know:
That South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of the people.”
— Opening words of the Freedom Charter
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, his middle name is an isiXhosa name which means “pulling the branch of a tree”; colloquially it means “troublemaker”, his father gave him this name. The former president of the nation, the Republic of South Africa, will forever be remembered as the man who unified a nation of diverse races. He was the country’s first black African president. His election as president marked the beginning of the end of the tyrannical period of apartheid. After nearly thirty years of being confined to a tiny Robben Island Prison cell, Nelson Mandela’s successful campaign for office marked the beginning of a new era for South Africa, and for the world.
On December 5, 2013 at the age of ninety-five years-old, Madiba, the name of the clan from which the late African statesman comes, succumbed to natural causes. A clan name is much more important than a surname as it refers to the ancestor from which a person is descended. Madiba was the name of a Thembu chief who ruled in the Transkei in the 18th century.
It is considered courteous to use someone’s clan name. In this case it is also an expression of deep respect and affection for the former president of a country that had previously been seemingly incommensurable until he was elected as the nation’s first black South African president. More