Anorak News | 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.


 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 solidarity with Madiba’s struggle for freedom, but do not tolerate dissent from their own people. And there are too many of us who stand on the sidelines, comfortable in complacency or cynicism when our voices must be heard.

We will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again. But let me say to the young people of Africa, and young people around the world – you can make his life’s work your own.  Over thirty years ago, while still a student, I learned of Mandela and the struggles in this land. It stirred something in me. It woke me up to my responsibilities – to others, and to myself – and set me on an improbable journey that finds me here today. And while I will always fall short of Madiba’s example, he makes me want to be better.

Daily Mash:

Jerry Dammers of The Special AKA is furious that nobody ever told him Nelson Mandela was also known as Madiba. ‘Free Nelson’ would have sounded like it was about the historical admiral. Madiba rhymes with 58 words. The ska legend believes he would’ve had a far easier time writing a top ten hit if he’d had a three syllable name to work with rather than a five syllable one.

He continued: “My single, Free Nelson Mandela, took me two years to compose because it’s absurdly hard to write a snappy chorus around that name. I tried getting away with Free Nelson but everyone thought the song was about the historical admiral. Somehow Free Nelson M wasn’t right either. If I’d known he was called Madiba I could’ve got it done in ’82 and he would have been out in 1989.”

Shamik Das:

We all have our favourite iconic image of Madiba

This is the Memorial Wall in Windrush Square, London:

madiba brixton


Thomas Clark Academy Wisbech, Cambridgeshire:

Madiba is named after Nelson Mandela, the former South African President. Madiba is his clan name and is used as a respectful title… We are proud of all of the achievements of Madiba students and will post stories of their activities and successes below…

Year 8 student Charlotte is set to represent England in kickboxing competitions in Ireland and Italy.

Lewis R. Gor­don:

Thank you, Nel­son Rolih­lahla Man­dela, for in your deeds inspir­ing so many of us to aim so high while at the same time remind­ing us that you were above all a human being, with so many of the lim­it­a­tions that embod­ies, which makes hope, love, and pos­sib­il­ity so precious.

Farewell, Mad­iba. Farewell.

Arianna Huffington: 

After his release in 1990, his first goal was reconciliation, not retribution. “The whites are our fellow South Africans,” he said the next morning. “We want them to feel safe.” And after becoming the first democratically elected black president of South Africa, that unremitting dedication to what’s best in us continued. “He no longer belongs to us,” said President Obama upon learning of his death, “he belongs to the ages.” But let’s not relegate him to the ages just yet — we desperately need his spirit of transcendence and compassion right now. As he wrote in 1995: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Rest in Peace, Madiba.
Dr Harry Hagopian:
I am proud to aver that a few tears welled up in my eyes last week when I heard that Nelson Mandela had passed away at the grand old age of 95. Why, some readers might perhaps ask, since Madiba (or Tata, a less familiar term of endearment for him) was not a young man who had abruptly been felled down by a massive stroke or heart attack
Gavin Drake:
Goodnight, Madiba. You’ve walked the long walk to freedom. Now, rest in peace.
At Manchester United last night:
If you spot any more non-South African using Madiba let us know.

Posted: 11th, December 2013 | In: Key Posts, Reviews Comments (18) | TrackBack | Permalink