New York tribute celebrates the life and legacy of Madiba

Gareth Cliff

On 13 February 2014, guests from across the globe joined former US President Bill Clinton, award-winning actor Morgan Freeman and the acclaimed Soweto Gospel Choir in New York to celebrate the life and legacy of the late Nelson Mandela.

The New York Tribute Concert – a performance of song, narration on Mr Mandela’s life lessons, and readings – was hosted at the Church of St Paul the Apostle in Manhattan, New York. It was an initiative of the Nelson Mandela Foundation and CultureHorde

After welcomes from popular TV and radio personality Gareth Cliff and CultureHorde founder Pamela Mirels, the CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Sello Hatang, told the audience, “We will never forget you and your sacrifices, Madiba. We salute and thank you for your sacrifices for our freedom and our future.

“This evening is about reflection, memory and sharing in honour of Tata. His legacy lives on in all of us and it is our job and responsibility to ensure this.”

Morgan Freeman

Freeman and Cliff then took the audience through a journey of Madiba’s life, from his early years in Qunu, where he earned the name “Troublemaker” as the spirited young cowherd in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province, to his debut as a practising lawyer in Johannesburg, to his exemplary display of forgiveness, leadership and wisdom that illuminated his path to the Presidency and made him an icon.

Throughout this journey, the audience was treated to performances by the Soweto Gospel Choir.

Former US President Clinton then took to the podium to pay tribute to Mr Mandela.

“Mr Mandela’s life teaches us two things, not one,” said President Clinton in his speech.

“First, it teaches us that what we have in common is more important than our interesting differences.”

And secondly, “In all those long years in prison, he learned that you cannot be the person who you should be in the public sphere until you are inside.”

President Bill Clinton and the Soweto Gospel Choir

President Clinton also told guests to honour Madiba’s legacy: “We cannot allow his legacy, his memory, his meaning to drift into the history books, to become a distant memory. He must be as real to the people who never knew him, as real to children who cannot remember him, as real to grandchildren who are not yet born, as he is to those of us who loved him.”

Here is a video of the event:

In addition, here is a recording of an interview with Hatang on Sirius XM Radio's Make it Plain programme:

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