We remember Dr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

As South Africa and the world celebrate the life of Dr Nelson Mandela, we as the Comrades Marathon Association join them in acknowledging the greatness of this larger-than-life figure.

95 year old Tata Madiba epitomized the ideals of humility, honour and goodness; showing us how to stand tall in the face of adversity and pain. He taught us that no matter how hard, long and tedious the struggle; we can be virtuous and victorious. He stood for all that was noble, beautiful and brave.

He will long be remembered as South Africa’s truly great son and leader, the world’s most foremost statesman and the greatest human being of our time. The legacy of this amazing human being will forever live in our hearts.

Dr Mandela visited the Comrades Marathon during the years 1995, 1996 & 1997. Former CMA Chairman, Barry Varty fondly looks back on those days: ‘He was still in his Presidency during all of his Comrades visits, although he visited as the Chairman of The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and not as the President.

‘During his three visits to Comrades, he met the respective Male & Female Winners. He wandered freely and spoke to anyone who was able to approach him. In 1996, he asked to meet Wally Hayward which was arranged. In 1996 & 1997 he presented the prizes.
‘During all of his visits, he was introduced to the CMA Executive Committee & Board of Trustees members and to staff who were present at the time. The original shirt that he wore in 1996 is on display in the CMA Museum.’
‘During his visit, Tata Madiba praised the CMA for the event of which he said South Africa should be very proud. He was always interested in sports and was knowledgeable about the Comrades Marathon.’

CMA Chairman, Mac Chitja says, ‘Dr Mandela was a great statesman, a world leader and a unifier for our country. He dedicated his life to the freedom of his country and sacrificed the better part of his life for the said cause. When freedom was won, he championed the cause of reconciliation notwithstanding that he suffered more than most under the hands of the oppressors. He served his purpose in life with distinction and will be greatly missed.’

Long live the legacy of Tata Madiba!

Statement issued by the Comrades Marathon Association’s Media Officer, Delaine Cools on Friday, 6 December 2013

madiba comrades

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