Harrogate tributes follow death of Nelson Mandela

Picture : Adrian Murray. (1312095AM3)
Picture : Adrian Murray. (1312095AM3)

The world this week mourned the death of South Africa’s first black president and anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela.

Mr Mandela was known throughout the world for his anti-apartheid stance and led the nation’s transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s, after 27 years in prison.

His years in jail left him without a trace of bitterness or hatred against those who practised apartheid.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and was elected South Africa’s first black president in 1994.

A memorial service, attended by more than 90 heads of state or government, was held on Wednesday ahead of the planned state funeral in his Eastern Cape village of Qunu on Sunday.

In Harrogate, a minute’s applause was held before kick-off in the football match between Harrogate Town and Altrincham on Saturday, observed by the crowd of over 500.

And North Rigton businessman Jason Shaw spoke to the ‘Advertiser series about his collection of artwork by Mr Mandela.

The collection includes pieces such as the Hand of Africa and a print of a motivational speech Mr Mandela delivered.

Mr Shaw said: “Mr Mandela decided he would paint to raise money for his Aids foundation.

“He wanted his paintings to reflect positive attributes of humanity, and I have 12 pieces.

“They are lithographs, because all of his original paintings were destroyed.”

Mr Shaw spoke of his experience of South Africa.

He said: “I started visiting Johannesburg for business when Mr Mandela was there, but it took a long time for South Africa to turn from the place it was to the place it is.

“I have seen a massive change in the country.”

Mr Shaw believes the response to Mr Mandela’s death reflects the importance of his life: “He was not just a modern-day Martin Luther King, Mr Mandela’s approach was one of bringing people together, whether a CEO of a business or a freedom fighter like he was.

“Anybody, irrespective of what job they do, can take inspiration from Mr Mandela.

“Lots of people have said this is a sad week, but think of the legacy he is leaving, not just for South Africa, but even for people in Harrogate.

“The artwork means there is a part of Nelson Mandela in Harrogate.”

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