Remarkable People

ID #5267

Nelson Mandela 9 Retirement and Health.

Mandela became the oldest President of South Africa when he took office in 1994 at age 75. He decided not to stand for a second term and retired in 1999. After retirement, Mandela became an advocate for a variety of social and human rights organizations. He expressed support for the Make Poverty History movement. The Nelson Mandela Invitational golf tournament, hosted by Gary Player, has raised over twenty million Rand for children's charities since its inception in 2000. This event has become South Africa's most successful sports charity and benefits both the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and the Gary Player Foundation. Mandela is a supporter of SOS Children's Villages dedicated to raising orphaned and abandoned children.  Mandela appeared in an advertisement for the 2006 Winter Olympics and was quoted as saying: “For seventeen days, they are roommates. For seventeen days, they are soulmates. And for twenty-two seconds, they are competitors. Seventeen days as equals. Twenty-two seconds as adversaries. What a wonderful world that would be. That's the hope I see in the Olympic Games”.

In July 2001 Mandela was treated treated for prostate cancer. In 2003 his death was inadvertently announced when his pre-written obituary was inadvertently published on CNN's web site. In 2007 a fringe right-wing group distributed hoax email and SMS messages claiming the authorities had covered up Mandela's death and that white South Africans would be massacred after his funeral. Mandela was on holiday in Mozambique at the time.

In June 2004, at age 85, Mandela announced he would retire from public life. His health had been declining, and he wanted to enjoy more time with his family. Mandela said that he did not intend to hide away from the public, but wanted to be in a position "of calling you to ask whether I would be welcome, rather than being called upon to do things and participate in events. My appeal therefore is Don't call me, I will call you." Since 2003, he has appeared in public less often and has been less vocal. He is white-haired and walks slowly with the support of a stick. There are reports that he may be suffering from dementia.

Mandela's 90th birthday was marked on 18 July 2008 with celebrations in his home town of Qunu. A concert in his honour was also held in Hyde Park, London.  In a speech to mark his birthday, Mandela called for the rich people to help poor people across the world. Despite maintaining a low-profile during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Mandela made a rare public appearance during the closing ceremony where he received a "rapturous reception."

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Last update: 2014-03-30 20:29
Author: Alan McIver
Revision: 1.3

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