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Mandela and the making of a woman

first_imgZelda La Grange served the global statesman for 19 years, eventually calling Mandela her grandfather, or umkhulu. He was the one individual who made her a better person and a better South African, she had said. (Image: Nelson Mandela Foundation/Alet van Huyssteen) MEDIA CONTACTS • Sello Hatang CEO and spokesperson Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory +27 11 547 5600 RELATED ARTICLES • Tutu leads Mandela memorial at Centre of Memory • ‘Goodness exists – greatness is possible, within a human being’ • Bikers hit the road for Mandela Day • Mandela’s close friends express the world’s grief • Mandela’s love of childrenMelissa Jane CookIn many of the photographs of Nelson Mandela, there is a familiar blonde woman standing to one side, a quiet but unmissable presence. The woman is Zelda La Grange, Mandela’s personal assistant, private secretary and rock.Her story is one that reflects the history of South Africa. She grew up with all the privileges of a white Afrikaner girl during the apartheid years, but underwent a personal transformation in the nineties when as a parliamentary typist, she went to work for one of the world’s most significant change-makers and the leader of a burgeoning democracy. Her relationship with Madiba, she has said, changed her profoundly.Born in 1970, La Grange was a student in the volatile eighties, the height of apartheid repression. At a time when forced removals and resettlement were creating havoc in township streets, the state of emergency further encouraged the colour divide and ferocious oppression of non-white South Africans. Suffering indignity and humiliation daily, the majority of the country was on the verge of imploding.Beating the odds of this violent, turbulent, shameful time in our history, a young white girl who initially harboured an irrational fear of black people became the black anti-apartheid stalwart’s closest confidante. Known as a Rottweiler and a general, she fiercely guarded Mandela at a time when anger ran rampant and South Africa was fearful of what this political transformation would mean.She served the global statesman for 19 years, eventually calling Mandela her grandfather, or umkhulu. He was the one individual who made her a better person and a better South African, she has said. “Nelson Mandela inspired people to forgive, to reconcile, to care, to be selfless, to be tolerant, and to maintain dignity no matter what the circumstances. I can attest to each of these because these are the ways in which he changed my life over the past 19 years. I am blessed and honoured by the privilege to have had the opportunity to serve him,” La Grange said in her memorial following Mandela’s death on 10 December 2013.GranddaughterA disciplined and dedicated individual, she who wore many hats while serving Mandela. She excelled in every department, even as she put it – and he agreed – as his “honorary granddaughter”.Yet growing up, La Grange said, she was unaware of the precarious position South Africa was in and took little notice of apartheid. “In all honesty, I just knew there was a terrorist or a communist in prison and that it would mean the end of the country if he were released,” she told the British newspaper, The Guardian. “The influence of ‘my world’ brought an ingrained hatred, subconsciously, for the man and what he stood for, even though I did not know precisely what that entailed.”Her parents, a butcher and a teacher, supported the ruling National Party and, on Sundays, they attended services at the local Dutch Reformed Church. “I was raised in a conservative environment in which black people were dangerous, a lower social class, and they were all terrorists!”When Mandela was released, she said, “my dad remarked, ‘Now we’re in trouble’, and I immediately felt an irrational fear”.Yet she has described her Calvinistic upbringing as protected and happy. Having an interest in the arts, she wanted to study drama, but her father advised her to pursue something else as acting was a difficult profession in which to survive. “He advised me to first do something that I could fall back on, and then go and study drama if I still wanted to. My father is a very realistic person and although I don’t like his advice 80% of the time, once again, he knew better,” she told The Guardian.Though not entirely pleased, she heeded this advice and received a diploma in executive secretarial work. A few years later, a typist’s post was advertised in The Presidency and La Grange jumped at the opportunity. She was a typist for Mary Mxadana, at the time the private secretary of Mandela, by then the leader of the country. He was the first democratically elected president of the country, and served one term, from 1994 to 1999.First meetingShe spoke of her first introduction to Mandela, saying she was a nervous wreck and did not know what to expect of this man whom she had learned to fear. “I was on my way to the private secretary’s office and the president was on his way out. We bumped into each other and he inevitably began to chat. I just answered the questions politely and was very afraid of the tall black man. He put me at ease with his friendly chatting and the unreserved way in which he shook my hand.”She added: “Shortly after I began working in the president’s office in 1994 I was shocked when I read the ANC’s Freedom Charter. They had already been striving in the 1950s for a non-sexist, non-racist society in which everyone could live together in freedom. I was completely confused and asked whether this was the reason that Mr Mandela went to jail. The answer, shortly, unfortunately, was ‘yes’.“It made me realise that in spite of the fact that I was white, there was a place for me in the new South Africa, if these were the principles the new governing party had fought for. From the president’s actions, I quickly realised that the values of the Freedom Charter were also his own values, and that if you showed respect to your fellow humans you could resolve any disputes.”Growing ever closer to the president, in 1996 she was promoted to assistant private secretary, and in 1999 she was again promoted to private secretary in the office of the president. Then, later that year, after Mandela left office, she was appointed executive personal assistant and spokesperson for the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg.As Mandela’s right-hand confidante, La Grange was frequently in the company of heads of state, dignitaries and celebrities, and she had unrivalled access to world leaders. It was a demanding position, and with no social life except her commitment to Mandela, La Grange said despite this, she felt so privileged to be working where she was.Inspiring loyalty“I often battled with the relentless pressure. But then I looked to him who carried himself with such grace and energy. Nelson Mandela did not demand loyalty, but he inspired profound and unwavering loyalty from everybody whose life he touched.” She had come a long way since Mandela was “a terrorist” in her eyes.Visiting palaces and parliaments around the world Mandela would turn to La Grange as a sounding board, often speaking Afrikaans to her – her home language and one he had become accustomed to using during his years in prison. “It became a secret weapon. Whenever we were in a foreign country and he didn’t want people to know what he was saying or asking me, he would use Afrikaans.”Mandela fondly referred to La Grange as Zeldina; on a state trip to Russia in 1999 he learned that president Boris Yeltsin’s wife was called Yeltsina, and it stuck. La Grange described her relationship with Madiba as that of a grandfather with his granddaughter, “but like it used to be between them in the old days – with unconditional respect”. It was within this context that the “grandfather” had a huge influence on his “granddaughter’s” life.La Grange said that for her, Mandela’s sense of humour remained one of his most outstanding traits. Once he had retired for the second time and was more relaxed, it became even better and sharper. And her ability to laugh, also at her own foibles, was clearly something La Grange shared with Mandela – such as the time she fell out of a stationary helicopter en route to a state banquet for former US president Bill Clinton, during one of his visits to South Africa.At first, when people said they found it strange that a young white Afrikaans woman had become Mandela’s right hand, she was amused. But slowly the comment took its toll. “At first I found it amusing that it should fascinate people. Later it irritated me. If we want to move forward in this country, the first thing we must do is stop classifying people.“Madiba didn’t see people’s skin colour, and I learned from him to look for something deeper in every person. The fact that I’m white or any other colour was really irrelevant. What angers me now is the near-fascination and the fuss people still make of it, because it means that people still haven’t accepted that we’re all just South Africans, white or black, or whatever colour or faith.”A deep loveAbout work, La Grange stressed that there was no chit-chat. “It was a job with purpose and I deeply loved him.” Mandela was known for his punctual and strict work ethic, which made him “the easiest person, the best teacher and mentor”. “He was the most patient boss, an incredible person to talk with.”She believes he chose her as she was a great secretary, shared the same work ethic, and was exceptionally disciplined, punctual, committed, and put her all into her job. And she served him well. “It was a privilege to work for him and I would never want things differently. I learned respect, being respectful to people, in the way we relate to one another, and don’t allow your enemies to determine the grounds for battle.”Speaking to Talk Radio 702 host Redi Thlabi, Le Grange said that nothing could have prepared her for the loss she felt, the shock and sadness when she was told of Mandela’s death. “I saw him last a few months ago, and out of respect for the family, and for myself, I wanted to remember him like that. It was sad to see him deteriorating; he was such a proud, independent man.”Living legacyMandela was no longer here, but his legacy was. We must study and disseminate it, she stressed, saying it was now the time to be reminded that we must implement his values and morals. “We must achieve the South Africa that we dream of.”About his death, she said: “Heroes never die. As sad as it makes me that I will never walk into a room again and see his generous infectious smile or hear him say, ‘Oh Zeldina, you are here,’ I have come to terms with the fact that Madiba’s legacy is not dependent on his presence.“His legacy will not only live on in everything that has been named after him, the books, the images, the movies. It will live on in how we feel when we hear his name, the respect and love, the unity he inspired in us as a country, but particularly how we relate to one another.”She concluded: “Madiba will forever be present in my life because he made me into the human being I am today. I will cherish every smile, the pleasant but also the difficult times, and especially my barefoot moments. Thank you for all the wonderful opportunities you afforded me, but most of all thank you for believing in me, Khulu.”last_img read more

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Dalits to take out yatra on Una anniversary

first_imgDalit organisations led by activist Jignesh Mevani will organise a march from Mehsana to Banaskantha next month to mark one year since cow vigilantes thrashed a group of Dalits for skinning a dead cow at Una village in Saurashtra. The vigilantes filmed the Dalits being tied to a jeep, beaten up and paraded in the village in July 2016. The video went viral on social media and drew national attention when BSP leader Mayawati raised the issue in the Rajya Sabha. Soon political leaders such as Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal visited the victims and slammed the Gujarat government for not taking any action against the culprits.During the march, demands such as allotting land to Dalits in the State will be raised. Mr. Mevani, who led a month-long Dalit agitation after the Una incident, said, “Dalits, Muslims and backward communities are being systematically targeted in the name of cow slaughter across the country. We have to raise our voice against this mindless violence being inflicted by people associated with the RSS.” Mr. Mevani said,“After Una, atrocities against Dalits have increased in Gujarat and other States. There has been violence against Dalits in Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh after the BJP came to power there. Everywhere, Dalits are being beaten up in the name of cow protection.”last_img read more

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Jack pummels Cleverly to take light-heavy crown

first_imgCatriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses MOST READ LIST: Class, gov’t work suspensions during 30th SEA Games Cotto punishes Kamegai to win sixth world title LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games LAS VEGAS, NV – AUGUST 26: Badou Jack celebrates after winning by TKO in the fifth round of his WBA light heavyweight championship bout against Nathan Cleverly on August 26, 2017 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFPSweden’s Badou Jack blasted aside Nathan Cleverly in the fifth round to claim the Welsh fighter’s WBA light-heavyweight world title here Saturday.Jack, who improved to 22-1-3 with the win, dominated British star Cleverly from start to finish to score a technical knockout after 2min 47sec of the fifth round.ADVERTISEMENT Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics PLAY LIST 00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games LATEST STORIES The bout was one of the scheduled highlights of the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor undercard at the T-Mobile Arena.Cleverly, defending his title for the first time, was struggling from the opening bell, with Jack’s piercing jab and right hand finding their target repeatedly.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutCleverly looked to be finding his range with a flurry of punches at the end of the first, connecting with a right to the chin.But it was a fleeting rally with Jack firmly back in control thereafter. SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chiefcenter_img WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC A dominant fourth round display saw the 33-year-old rock Cleverly with a thunderous left hook to extend his lead.The fifth round was almost entirely one-way traffic, Jack connecting with a stream of jabs and hooks to force Cleverly onto the ropes.With Jack jolting Cleverly at will, referee Tony Weeks had seen enough, halting the fight to protect the champion from further punishment. ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games: PH’s Alisson Perticheto tops ice skating short program View comments Read Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspensionlast_img read more

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Cignal back on winning track with rout of AMA

first_imgHeart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken Raymar Jose just missed out on a double-double with his 12 points and nine boards in the win.Coach Boyet Fernandez was glad with how Cignal responded from its shock loss to Marinerong Pilipino, 66-65 last Thursday, noting that at the team knows how important the games are especially with the loaded schedule they have in the first three weeks of the tourney.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“We’re just a little tired, but the boys really wanted to get back on the winning track,” he said. “We know that we have to build up wins so that we’ll have a little bit of a buffer.”Potts got things going in the first quarter as he strung eight points to allow the Hawkeyes to take a 22-16 lead before they pulled away in the ensuing frames and grab a lead as high as 25, 64-39, with a Simon Atkins fastbreak with 1:25 left in the third period. Paolo Pontejos got himself going for AMA (0-2) with 24 points, three rebounds, and three assists, while Mario Bonleon went for 13 markers on a dismal 5-of-20 sniping, to go with eight boards in the defeat.Andre Paras impressed in his first game for the Titans, winding up with five points, 10 rebounds, five blocks, and three assists in 34 minutes of play.The Scores:CIGNAL HD 86 – Potts 17, Raymundo 16, Jose 12, Atkins 8, Bringas 7, Cahilig 7, Sumalinog 6, Arboleda 5, Sara 5, Arong 1, Batino 1, Villarias 1, Bartolo 0.AMA 76 – Pontejos 24, Bonleon 13, Subido 11, Villanueva 9, Bragais 7, Paras 5, Jordan 4, Celso 3, Calma 0, Carpio 0, Macaranas 0, Malones 0, Salonga 0.Quarters: 22-16, 44-30, 66-47, 86-76.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garage Davon Potts. PBA IMAGESCignal HD pounced on AMA Online Education with a wire-to-wire 86-76 victory Tuesday in the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.Davon Potts led the way for the Hawkeyes as he fired 17 points and three rebounds, while Pamboy Raymundo unfurled 16 markers and two assists.ADVERTISEMENT Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ MOST READ 1 dead in Cavite blast, fire Durant planned for this title months ago in picking Warriorscenter_img Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next What ‘missteps’? Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guide View commentslast_img read more

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10 months agoMan Utd boss Mourinho: Our best hope is fourth

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man Utd boss Mourinho: Our best hope is fourthby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United boss Jose Mourinho says a top four finish is the best they can hope for this season.United are reeling after their 3-1 defeat at Liverpool.Mourinho said afterwards, “We can still finish fourth. “It’s not easy, but for sure we are going to finish in the top six like all the other historically top teams but the best we can get is the fourth position. Right now we need to look to fifth and probably later we can look to the fourth.” last_img

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10 months agoMan Utd legend Neville names Pochettino as ‘ideal’ Mourinho replacement

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Man Utd legend Neville names Pochettino as ‘ideal’ Mourinho replacementby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United legend Gary Neville wants Mauricio Pochettino to takeover at Old Trafford.Jose Mourinho was sacked as manager on Tuesday after the club’s worst start to the season in 28 years.And Neville thinks United should target Tottenham’s manager.Neville told Sky Sports: “I’ve been fortunate to spend time at Tottenham’s training ground, and for me he [Pochettino] feels like the ideal candidate. “Man United have tried managers who have won European cups, they’ve tried managers who have won multiple leagues. “My view is they need someone who meets the three key principles of the football club, and that is promotion of youth, entertaining football, and to win football matches.” last_img read more

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12 days agoOxlade-Chamberlain: It’s on me to give Liverpool something different

first_imgOxlade-Chamberlain: It’s on me to give Liverpool something differentby Paul Vegas12 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveAlex Oxlade-Chamberlain is determined to make a big impression at Liverpool this season.The Liverpool man missed out on last year’s title race and wants to play a key part in this campaign to make up for it.The 26-year-old told Liverpoolfc.com: “It’s on me to try to bring a little something: run with the ball, link the play and fit in with the rhythm of the boys up front to help them. What they achieved last year was extraordinary.“To miss out [on the title] in the way we did was heartbreaking, so as a team we need to do better. With teams like Man City, and how relentless they are, we know we have to do more.“For me as an individual, my goals are to get back in and around the team and to help push this team forward a little bit more. If we can do that, I can start thinking about what I need to add to my game. For now, the next step is to help the team.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

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Charles Barkley Inspires Students to Learn Importance of AfricanAmerican History and Civic

first_imgHall of Fame basketball player, Emmy Award winning studio analyst, and author Charles Barkley, along with leading education technology provider EVERFI, Inc., today announced a partnership to power a new African-American history initiative for high school students throughout the states of Alabama and Mississippi.The course will engage tens of thousands of students in the Mississippi Delta region, which includes Barkley’s hometown of Leeds, Alabama, all at no cost to students, their schools or school districts. Additionally, as part of this new partnership, Charles’s production company Round Mound Media will create short-form filmed documentary content for the 306 course, in conjunction with Los Angeles-based creative and production agency Wondros, designed for students to further explore key moments and topics in specific to their states, beginning with Alabama.“I was born and raised in rural Alabama at the dawn of the Civil Rights era, and I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to American heroes like Medgar Evers, John Lewis, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ,” said Charles Barkley. “Every child in my home state should have the keys to knowledge of their history so they can achieve great things in their own lives. This initiative helps accomplish that.”The 306: African-American History digital course immerses students in a journey in which they learn about the incredible contributions that African-Americans have made in every fabric of American life including public service, the sciences, academia, and the world of the arts, music, and sports. The course is framed to teach the importance of civic engagement so that students develop into future community leaders.EVERFI administered survey questions to students across 28 states who took EVERFI’s 306 — African-American History course and discovered the students who think learning about African-American history is important are also more likely to say they intend to vote.“Even in today’s advanced technological world, it’s rare that teachers have the adequate tools to bring to life the stories of pride, perseverance, and leadership that are so prevalent throughout African-American history,” said EVERFI CEO Tom Davidson. “We’re incredibly excited to work with Charles to offer this digital initiative that makes African-American history readily accessible and allows students in the Mississippi Delta to reimagine how they see themselves through the lens of history.”Since it’s development, EVERFI’s 306 -African American History course has already reached nearly 100,000 students across the country, including over 17,000 in Alabama and Mississippi. The online course is filled with stories of inspirational civic leaders that overcame adversity to make contributions to society both then and now. These inspirational stories, shared through influential primary texts and compelling vignettes, build shared values and teach youth the importance of active citizenship.last_img read more

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Green technologies environmentally and profit friendly

Explore further Terence Saldanha, assistant professor of information systems at Washington State University’s Carson College of Business, and his research coauthors have examined the impact of green IT investment and implementation on a firm’s energy conservation efforts and profits.According to Saldanha, an increased focus on corporate environmental sustainability, as well as global efforts in response to climate change, continue to encourage companies to explore ways for improving energy efficiency.”But this also goes beyond the notion of just being good to the environment. Customers also are looking for it,” said Saldanha.How firms can lessen environmental impactThe Paris Agreement, aimed at strengthening the global response to climate change, recognizes the important role technology will play in addressing climate change issues. As efforts are made to limit global temperature increase, firms may face new regulations which place a stronger emphasis on environmental sustainability.Researchers say companies that invest in their own green technologies can operate in more environmentally sustainable ways without hurting profits. But as technology continues to evolve and becomes more deeply integrated in business processes, some argue that the increase use of technology will lead to more challenges. For example, creating more e-waste from the disposal of outdated equipment or systems.Even though it’s important for firms to be mindful of the e-waste they generate, the environmental benefit of the right technology investment could outweigh any negative impact, according to Saldanha.”You can achieve both profit and energy efficiency through IT investments,” he said.Timing and technology investments matterInvestment in technology alone doesn’t automatically lead to an improved bottom line, researchers note. When and how companies make IT investments in internal operations and partnerships with suppliers also matter.According to Saldanha, when companies make investments in technology to their own internal operations—such as modernizing data centers, moving toward virtualization of servers, or automating certain processes—it’s possible to reduce energy consumption without hurting profits.On the other hand, firms that make investments in green technology through partnerships with suppliers—such as implementing takeback agreements or using more green technology products under contract—can create more environmentally sustainable operations. However, they might not experience any significant impact to profits, either positive or negative.”When considering IT investments, companies should be aware of the tradeoffs that happen when they are implementing those kinds of steps with technology from a supplier,” Saldanha said. More information: Jiban Khuntia et al, Information Technology and Sustainability: Evidence from an Emerging Economy, Production and Operations Management (2017). DOI: 10.1111/poms.12822 Buying green doesn’t make you green, according to study Citation: Green technologies environmentally and profit friendly (2018, April 5) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-green-technologies-environmentally-profit-friendly.html Provided by Washington State University Companies looking to reduce their environmental impact without negatively affecting profits may want to consider increasing their investment in green technology and other sustainable IT solutions, according to a new study on information technology and sustainability published in Production and Operations Management. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. read more

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