Nelson Mandela Retires
Mandela became the oldest elected President of South Africa when he took office at the age of 75 in 1994.
He decided not to stand for a second term unlike most African leaders, who usually seek a presidency for life. He retired in 1999, to be succeeded by Thabo Mbeki.
After his retirement as President, Mandela went on to become an advocate for a variety of social and human rights organisations. He has expressed his support for the international Make Poverty History movement of which the ONE Campaign is a part. The Nelson Mandela Invitational charity golf tournament, hosted by Gary Player, has raised over twenty million rands for children's charities since its inception in 2000. This annual special event has become South Africa's most successful charitable sports gathering and benefits both the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and Gary Player Foundation equally for various children's causes around the world.
Mandela is a vocal supporter of SOS Children's Villages, the world's largest organisation dedicated to raising orphaned and abandoned children. Mandela appeared in a televised advertisement for the 2006 Winter Olympics, and was quoted for the International Olympic Committee's Celebrate Humanity campaign:
For seventeen days, they are roommates. For seventeen days, they are soulmates. And for twenty-two seconds, they are competitors. Seventeen days as equals. Twenty-two seconds as adversaries. What a wonderful world that would be. That's the hope I see in the Olympic Games.
After his retirement as President in 1999, Mandela went on to become an advocate for a variety of social and human rights organisations. He received many foreign honours, including the Order of St. John from Queen Elizabeth II and the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush.
As an example of his popular acclaim, in his tour of Canada in 1998, he included a speaking engagement in SkyDome in the city of Toronto where he spoke to 45,000 school children who greeted him with intense adulation. In 2001, he was the first living foreigner to be made an honourary Canadian citizen (the first, Raoul Wallenberg, was posthumously made a Canadian citizen) as well as being one of the few foreign leaders to receive the Order of Canada.
n 2003, Mandela attacked the foreign policy of the George W. Bush administration in a number of speeches, going so far as calling Bush a racist for not following the UN and its secretary-general Kofi Annan (who is African) on the issue of the War in Iraq. "Is it because the secretary-general of the United Nations is now a black man? They never did that when secretary-generals were white," Mandela said.http://kdka.com/topstories/topstories_story_031073341.html The comments caused a rare moment of controversy and criticism for Mandela, even among some supporters.
The familiar figure of Nelson Mandela, with his trade-mark floral shirt and ready smile, will be fading from the international limelight. The father of South Africa's democracy and icon of many across the globe has announced his intention to retreat from public life.
Speaking at a gathering of media and friends on June 1 in Johannesburg, Mandela said: "I'm turning 86 in a few weeks' time [July 18], and that is a longer life than most people are granted. "I have the added blessing of being in very good health, at least according to my doctors. I'm confident that nobody present here today will accuse me of selfishness if I ask to spend time, while I'm still in good heath, with my family, my friends, and also with myself."
He said he did not intend to hide away totally, but he missed the opportunity for reading, thinking, and quiet reflection and would now do these things and work on his memoirs.
The book he is writing is a sequel to his first autobiography, A Long Walk to Freedom, which covers his life from his youth to his release from prison after 27 years in 1990. The new book will include his period as South Africa's first fully democratically elected president, from 1994 till his retirement in 1999.