Earlier today, President Obama delivered a fitting speech at the funeral of Nelson Mandela in Soweto, South Africa. Obama drew on the activist’s struggle against apartheid and his fight for social justice, saying that Mandela’s work made his own political career as America’s first black president possible.
"With honesty, we must ask: How well have I applied his lessons in my own life?" the POTUS asked the crowd gathered in Mandela's memory. "It’s a question I ask myself, as a man and as a President.
"We know that, like South Africa, the United States had to overcome centuries of racial subjugation," he continued. "As was true here, it took the sacrifice of countless people to see the dawn of a new day. Michelle and I are beneficiaries of that struggle. But in America, and in South Africa, and in countries all around the globe, we cannot allow our progress to cloud the fact that our work is not yet done."
The memorial ceremony was held at First National Bank Stadium in Soweto, a township of Johannesburg and the former hub of the anti-apartheid movement. The rain-soaked event drew a star-studded crowd including former President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton, former President Jimmy Carter, former President Bush and his wife Laura, Bono, Naomi Campbell, Charlize Theron, and former South African president Frederik Willem De Klerk, who freed Mandela from prison, among others.
Mandela’s body, according to the Daily News, will lie in Pretoria for three days at the Union Buildings, once the seat of white power in South Africa, before he is finally laid to rest on Sunday in his rural childhood village of Qunu in Eastern Cape Province.
And despite the kind words of world leaders remembering Madiba, the lead story from the cable news funeral coverage seemed to be President Obama’s handshake with Cuban President Raul Castro. It’s no secret that U.S-Cuban relations could be better and apparently, their handshake was wildly dangerous. *sarcasm*
P.S. Jay-Z also honored Mandela with a musical tribute through his song “Forever Young” last night in Los Angeles during his Magna Carta tour. Enjoy.
P.S. CBS thought it was a good idea to play Toto's "Africa" under their Mandela montage, you know, depicting people who are crying.