Anorak | Madiba Watch: A List Of Non-South Africans Calling Mandela By His Tribal Name

Madiba Watch: A List Of Non-South Africans Calling Mandela By His Tribal Name

by | 11th, December 2013



MADIBA Watch: a look at non-South African journalists and politicians calling Nelson Mandela ‘Madiba’. Sure they have a deep link to the traditional Xhosa culture, but non-South Africans addressing Mandela as Madiba can look a bit trying-too-hard. They can sound like a bit of a wally:

Jaclyn Schiff, a South African,  explains who can call Mandela ‘Madiba’:

1. You are one of his children
2. You’ve been married to him at some point
3. You’ve played on South Africa’s national rugby team, the Springboks
4. You hold a current, official, real South African passport
5. You are married to someone who fits at least one of the items on this list
6. Your name is Bill Clinton and you’re a former U.S. president
7. You hold an MFA in modern dance with a specialization in the Madiba Shuffle
8. You’re former Rolling Stone reporter and recent Time managing editor Rick Stengel and you collaborated on Mandela’s autobiography
9. You played Mandela in a Hollywood movie
10. Your collection of Batik Mandela shirts numbers at least 1,000
11. You spent the night of May 5, 2013, camped outside Mandela’s home in Houghton
12. You were in Cape Town on February 11, 1990 to cheer Mandela’s release from prison
13. You know Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika by heart
14. You sing Shosholoza to encourage your favorite sports team
15. You know how to pronounce Mandela’s given name, Rolihlahla

All good. But I’d just stick at number 4.

Photo :

 A woman takes a picture with her phones of a statuette of former South African President Nelson Mandela with a sign in front of it reading in Italian “Ciao Madiba” (Goodbye Madiba), referring to Mandela’s clan name, displayed amongst other statuettes of famous personalities, including Pope Francis, left, in the shop of an artisan of nativity scenes, in Naples’ San Gregorio Armeno street, Italy, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. Mandela died Thursday at his home in Johannesburg at the age of 95.

Peter FitzSimons :

My most compelling memory of Nelson Mandela was when, attending the opening ceremony of the 1995 World Cup in South Africa, the great man came out on to the field. As one, 50,000 white South Africans got to their feet and cheered him, punching their fists into the air, and roaring ”Nelson! Nelson! Nelson!” All this, just a few kilometres from Robben Island, where he had been imprisoned for 18 of the 27 years he spent behind bars until his release in 1990. The atmosphere was electric, just as it was four weeks later when Mandela came out on to the field for the Springboks v All Blacks final, wearing the No.6 jersey of the Springboks captain, Francois Pienaar … and the people roared once more. Invictus did not get close to capturing the magnificence of the moment. No book could capture the greatness of the man. Vale, Madiba.

Mehdi Hasan :

Mehdi’s Morning Memo: RIP Madiba

Communist Party of Britain general secretary today (December 6) issued the following statement on the death of Nelson (Madiba) Mandela.

We also rededicate ourselves to the fight for other causes close to Madiba’s heart, not least for peace instead of imperialist war, for national sovereignty for the peoples of Africa, for the closure of Guantanamo Bay concentration camp and for national statehood for the Palestinian people’.

Barack Obama :

“Madiba transformed South Africa and moved all of us- his journey from a prisoner to a president embodied the promise that humans can transform for the better. He achieved more than could be expected for any man and today he’s gone home.”


To the people of South Africa people of every race and walk of life the world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us. His struggle was your struggle. His triumph was your triumph. Born during World War I, far from the corridors of power, a boy raised herding cattle and tutored by elders of his Thembu tribe Madiba would emerge as the last great liberator of the 20th century. He was not a bust made of marble; he was a man of flesh and blood a son and husband, a father and a friend.

Mandela showed us the power of action; of taking risks on behalf of our ideals.

Mandela understood the ties that bind the human spirit. There is a word in South Africa ‘Ubuntu’ that describes his greatest gift: his recognition that we are all bound together in ways that can be invisible to the eye; that there is a oneness to humanity; that we achieve ourselves by sharing ourselves with others, and caring for those around us.

It took a man like Madiba to free not just the prisoner, but the gaoler as well; to show that you must trust others so that they may trust you; to teach that reconciliation is not a matter of ignoring a cruel past, but a means of confronting it with inclusion, generosity and truth. He changed laws, but also hearts.

There are too many of us who happily embrace Madiba’s legacy of racial reconciliation, but passionately resist even modest reforms that would challenge chronic poverty and growing inequality. There are too many leaders who claim

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Posted: 11th, December 2013 | In: Key Posts, News Comments (18) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink