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SOUTH AFRICA: DESMOND TUTU PAYS TRIBUTE TO NELSON MANDELA
 

I disagreed with him a number of times, firstly over his government's decision to continue to manufacture and trade in weapons and over Parliament's insensitive decision to grant itself big pay increases soon after coming to power. He attacked me publicly as a populist, but he never tried to shut me up, and we could laugh over our tiffs and remain friends. On one occasion during the proceedings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, one of our commissioners was accused of being implicated in a case before a commission. Madiba appointed a judicial inquiry to look into the claims and when its report was complete, I had a telephone call from his secretary asking for contact details for the commissioner. I told her that I was upset with the President: as chairperson of the commission, I should know the findings of the inquiry first. Within minutes Madiba personally called back to apologise and acknowledge that he was wrong. People who are insecure and uncertain of themselves find it hard to apologise; Madiba showed his greatness by his willingness to do so quickly and fulsomely.

He was amazing in his selfless altruism for others, recognising just as did a Mahatma Gandhi or a Dalai Lama that a true leader exists not for self-aggrandisement but for the sake of those he or she is leading. Sadly, his personal life was marked by tragedy. Sacrificing personal happiness for his people, prison separated him from his beloved wife, Winnie, and his children. He was deeply distressed that while Winnie was being hounded and persecuted by the police, and later became caught up in the machinations of people who surrounded her, he was forced to sit helpless in his cell, unable to intervene. While worrying about Winnie, and grieving for his mother, he lost his eldest son, Thembi, in a road accident.

Soon after his release my wife, Leah, and I invited Nelson and Winnie to our Soweto home for a traditional Xhosa meal. How he adored her: all the while they were with us, he followed her every movement like a doting puppy. Later, when it was clear their marriage was in trouble, I spent some time with him. He was devastated by the breakdown of their relationship it is no exaggeration to say that he was a broken man after their divorce, and he entered the presidency a lonely figure.

It was all the more wonderful then when he and Graca Machel, the eponymous widow of Mozambique's founding president, Samora Machel, found love together. Madiba was transformed, as excited as a teenager in love, as she restored his happiness. She was a godsend. He showed a remarkable humility when I criticised him publicly for living with her without benefit of matrimony. Some heads of state would have excoriated me. Not this one. Soon afterwards I received an invitation to his wedding.

The world is a better place for Nelson Mandela. He showed in his own character, and inspired in others, many of God's attributes: goodness, compassion, a desire for justice, peace, forgiveness and reconciliation. He was not only an amazing gift to humankind, he made South Africans and Africans feel good about being who we are. He made us walk tall. God be praised.

Desmond Tutu is Anglican Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, the 1984 Nobel Peace laureate and, most recently, the recipient of a Mo Ibrahim Foundation Special Award and the 2013 Templeton Prize.

Community-Based Tourism Success in Soweto

.....On a recent visit to Johannesburg, our editors spent four enjoyable days with a pair of highly motivated entrepreneurs from ATA's Gauteng Chapter. Minah Makhoto (left) and Queen Mokgopo (right) both have thriving businesses located in Soweto, Africa's largest city with a predominantly black population. The high standard of services this dynamic duo provides is a shining example for all of South Africa in terms of tourism awareness at the community level. Their story will be told in more detail in the next few weeks and in coming editions of our printed magazine.

Pictured on this page are scenes from Minah's "Basiea” Bed and Breakfast and Diner and Queen's Tour service vehicles. Photos by Muguette Goufrani.

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Visitors to Soweto can enjoy original South Africa meals served in Minah's spotless dining room.

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Above: ATA editor with Lazarus (above), Queen's well informed tour guide. Location is the main highway overpass at Soweto Market. Africa's largest hospital is in the background.

Left: Lifestyles in Soweto today. Community spirit is achieving remarkable and progressive things in Africa's largest black community.

 


ATA editors (center) join Minah (left) and Queen (right) at a special ATA Chapter meeting, held at Gauteng Tourism Organization's offices in downtown Johannesburg Shopping Mall. Statue of Nelson Mandela in center of photo.

Contacts:
Minah's Basiea
Bed & Breakfast and Diner.
basiea_soweto@mail.co.za

Queens Tour and Safari CC
Phone 27-11-403-0920