Mandela tender but tough - Jesse Jackson

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jesse jackson dec 12


US civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson. Photo: Desmond Boylan

Johannesburg - Nelson Mandela changed world opinion about apartheid, US civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson said in Joburg on Wednesday.

“Madiba was tough-minded, tender-hearted,” Jackson said.

“He helped change world opinion about apartheid.”

Jackson arrived on Wednesday to attend Mandela’s funeral and to speak about the man he met several times and respected greatly.

The American civil rights activist and Baptist minister spoke at a tribute gathering at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton. It was attended by Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor and musical icon Jonas Gwangwa.

Jackson spoke about the parallels between the liberation struggle against apartheid and the civil rights movement. He compared Mandela to Martin Luther King Jr.

“He was an enlightened, literate man,” Jackson said. “He was a living martyr for 51 years, longer than Dr King and Jesus lived.”

Elinor Sisulu, the daughter-in-law of the late Walter and Albertina Sisulu, agreed with Jackson and took the opportunity to remind those present about Oliver Tambo, who she feels isn’t celebrated enough.

“We should also look at the people whose shoulders he (Mandela) stood on.”

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