Category: Projects in Development

The Titanic Parable Society

The Titanic Parable Society

“No longer looking back and down – but forward and up!

Inspired by James Cameron’s ‘Final World’

The Titanic Parable Society is inspired by the National Geographic Chanel’s documentary ‘Titanic: The Final Word with James Cameron’ (Broadcast April 8, 2012).

The Society is inspired by two important snippets from James Cameron’s ‘final word’, spoken at the conclusion of the documentary and aims to harness these as the inspiration for this initiative:

1. “It is time to pass the baton… For me it is so much more than simply an exercise in forensic archaeology…”

2. “Part of the Titanic parable… is to make it a microcosm for the world… you’ve got 1st Class, 2nd Class, 3rd Class, while in our world now you have developed nations and underdeveloped nations; you’ve got the starving millions who are going to be the ones most affected by the next iceberg we hit, which is going to be climate change.”

As a new generation of Titanic enthusiasts emerge it is hoped they will take the baton from James Cameron and will prove him correct in showing that Titanic is “so much more than simply an exercise in forensic archaeology.” The aim is that they will take the ‘Titanic Parable’ and make it relevant, as he does, to the challenges that face humanity today.

However, we cannot allow James Cameron to simply walk away by saying ‘We can see the iceberg (Climate Change) ahead of us right now but we can’t turn… until our lives are put at risk by the moment of truth, we don’t know what we would do. And that’s my final word.” Surely it was not intentional, but there is no hope in this final word of James Cameron. There is no call to the young generation who might wish to take the baton from Mr. Cameron and to, at least, try and change direction and avert the disaster he appears to think is inevitable.

What will the new Titanic Parable Society seek to do?

The first initiative of the Society will be to create a life-giving memorial to the only black man on board Titanic, Joseph Laroche, a native of Haiti. The Titanic Parable is so full of heroic and inspirational stories and Joseph Laroche is one such hero who saved his pregnant French wife and their two daughters, before dying in the tragedy.

We will do this by partnering with a humanitarian organization to build 1512 houses in Haiti – one for every human being who perished in the tragedy.

How?

The aim is to engage with students in schools, colleagues and universities throughout the world to raise US$2,500 each

Joseph Laroche and family

to build a basic house in Haiti with the assistance of a Humanitarian organization engaging local Haitian craftsmen and women.

Each educational institution will be invited to establish a partner Titanic Parable Society and to commit to building a house as a life-giving memorial to one of Titanic’s 1512 victims.

Joseph Laroche suffered racism in France and was returning to his native Haiti with his young family to begin a new life. He was just one of hundreds of immigrants on board Titanic who dreamed of a better future. We have chosen Joseph Laroche as our first inspiration because of the current suffering of the Haitian people, following the devastating earthquake in 2010 that left millions homeless.

But we are also inspired by Joseph Laroche’s native Haiti. Haiti was the first Black Republic, achieving its independence from France in 1803. Haiti was the inspiration for the ending of slavery worldwide. Yet, Haiti was punished by great powers whose economies were being fuelled by slavery. Haiti has had to carry a very heavy burden for over two centuries. Today it is the poorest country in the Western World. The Titanic Parable Society wishes to help ease the suffering of Haiti and offer transformative hope by making the world realize the great debt of gratitude we owe to a nation that played a pivotal role in ending slavery.

Challenge

As our efforts build momentum, we wish to create a double effect by challenging James Cameron and all who benefited from the US$2 billion box office takings from the movie ‘Titanic’ to match us dollar for dollar. This way we will demonstrate that Titanic can, indeed, be a powerful parable and, as we enter a new century of Titanic remembrance, continue to save and improve lives, especially of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable.

No longer looking back and down

As an inspiration to our Titanic Parable Society, our 2nd initiative will be to invite James Cameron to DePaul University, Chicago in 2022, where the idea of the Society was first conceived, to give a final lecture on Titanic in which he encourages new generations of Titanic enthusiasts to – at least – try and change course and avert the disaster he has predicted. James Cameron’s ‘Final Word’, as it stands, has no hope. There is not even a call to lower the life boats.

We believe that James Cameron has an important message of hope to

Not even a call to lower the life boats

offer to a new generation that wishes to take from him the baton and whose motto is: ‘No longer looking back and down – but forward and up!’

We look forward to being inspired and know that our Titanic Parable Society can be a legacy James Cameron will be proud of in the future.

Don Mullan
4 July 2012

 

Transcript of James Cameron’s ‘Final Word’ follows:

“I’ve been working on Titanic for nearly 20 years. I’ve planned this investigation to be my final word. It’s time for me to pass the baton and move on to some new challenges. But I’ll never stop thinking about Titanic. For me it is so much more than simply an exercise in forensic archaeology.

Part of the Titanic parable is of arrogance, of hubris, of the sense that we’re too big to fail. Well, where have we heard that one before?

There was this big machine, this human system that was pushing forward with so much momentum that it couldn’t turn, it couldn’t stop in time to avert a disaster. And that’s what we have right now.

Within that human system on board that ship, if you want to make it a microcosm for the world, you have different classes: you’ve got 1st Class, 2nd Class, 3rd Class, while in our world now you have developed nations and undeveloped nations; you’ve got the starving millions who are going to be the ones most affected by the next iceberg we hit, which is going to be climate change.

We can see that iceberg ahead of us right now but we can’t turn. We can’t turn because of the momentum of the system: political momentum, business momentum. There are too many people making money out of the system, the way the system works right now. And those people, frankly, have their hands on the levers of power and aren’t ready to let them go. Until they do, we’re not going to be able to turn and miss that iceberg and we’re going to hit it.

When we hit it, the rich are still going to get their access to food, to arable land, to water and so on. It’s going to be the poor; it’s going to be the steerage who are going to be impacted. And it was the same with Titanic. And I think that’s why this story will always fascinate people; because it’s a perfect little encapsulation of the world and all social spectra. But until our lives are really put at risk by the moment of truth, we don’t know what we would do. And that’s my final word!”

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The Pelé Peace Medal

The Pelé Peace Medal

In my life I have scored over one thousand goals.

But the goal that people remember is the one I never scored!” He was referring to an iconic World Cup moment during the clash of the World Champions, England and Brazil, in the 1970 Mexico tournament.
It occurred shortly after midday on Sunday, June 7th as tens of millions of fanatical fans crowded around their television sets in Brazil and the UK.

In the British and Irish Isles we are used to the measured excitement of our television football commentators.
But the incident Pelé is referring to was accompanied back home in Brazil by near hysteria in the voice of a Brazilian commentator.

It can be appreciated in this video:

The commentator’s voice undulates as a pass from Brazil’s captain, Carlos Alberto, is struck with supreme accuracy, long and hard, into the path of Jairzinho.

From England’s backline Jairzinho lifts the ball over four English defenders and onto the head of Pelé who delivers an unstoppable downward projectile from the edge of the six yard box.

By now the commentator’s voice is sounding like a Gatling-gun, spewing out Portuguese adjectives with hardly time for a breath.

His tone reaches a frenzied crescendo as the partisan crowd in the packed Guadalajara Stadium rise in unison to celebrate Brazil’s first goal against the World Champions.

Instantaneously the commentator’s voice becomes a prolonged pain-filled gasp of disbelief.

Somehow, Gordon Banks has raced from the far post and, with a gravity defying lunge, manages to harness the power of Pelé’s header to safely steer the ball over the bar.

The cheering gives way to a thunderous applause of respect for Banks and a real friendship between Banks and Pelé is born.

Thirty-eight years after ‘That Save’ and two-weeks after Pelé’s story to the Press, Banks is standing in Stoke City FC’s Britannia Stadium and apologising to Pelé for having made it: “People all around the world are still amazed by that save.

If only I had known how important that goal would be today – I wouldn’t have saved it.

It’s still in the back of my mind today… I just don’t know how or why that happened.

Sorry Pelé.

Sorry!” On the YouTube link, the reader will realise that Banks, of course, is speaking to camera with tongue-incheek.

For any goalkeeper – especially one of history’s greatest – to lament not having allowed an adversary to score against him would be a blasphemy.

It’s all part of a clever marketing ploy to help promote a campaign spearheaded by Pelé called Gols pela Vida – Goals for Life.

The origin of the campaign goes back to an evening almost 40 years ago in Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã Stadium, when – literally – all of Brazil stopped to watch a moment of history.

It was November 19, 1969.
The world’s biggest stadium was packed to capacity for a game featuring Santos and Vasco da Gama.
Pelé entered the game having already scored 999 goals in his career.
‘O Milesimo’ – The Thousandth – was eagerly anticipated.
When Santos was awarded a penalty and it became clear that Pelé was going to take it, Brazilian television stations interrupted their transmissions and immediately took a live-feed from Maracanã Stadium.
On cue, as the ball hit the back of the net, firecrackers exploded around the stadium and a spontaneous fiesta, as only Brazilians know how to do, erupted across the nation.
Decades later Pelé recalled: “I ran straight to the back of the net and picked up the ball and kissed it.
The stadium was erupting with firecrackers and cheers.
All of a sudden I was surrounded by a huge crowd of journalists and reporters.
They put their microphones in my face and I dedicated the goal to the children of Brazil.
I said we needed to look after the ‘criancinhas’, the little children.
Then I cried.
I was put on someone’s shoulders and I held the ball up high.
Play stopped for twenty minutes as I did a lap of the pitch” In 2005 Pelé’s dedication of his 1000th goal to the children of Brazil reached another dimension.
That year he teamed up with the biggest children’s hospital in Latin America, Hospital Pequeno Príncipe (Little Prince Hospital), in the Brazilian city of Curitiba.
The Hospital was established in 1919 and its services grew and expanded with each successive decade.
At first it was primarily dedicated to treating sick and injured children who were carried to its doors.
Later it established itself as one of Brazil’s top teaching hospitals, enabling it to grow its services to outpatient care and preventative medicine.
Incredibly, the hospital today reaches over quarter of a million children per year, 70% of whom are amongst Brazil’s poorest.
As the new millennium approached, the hospital recognised the need for a dedicated on-site research centre where advanced diagnostic care would be assisted by persistent medical research aimed at finding cures.
Learning of the hospital’s ambitions and needs, Pelé agreed to assist.
With his enthusiastic support, in September 2005, the Little Prince Hospital established the Pelé Pequeno Príncipe Research Institute.

“It is,” Pelé declared at its opening, “the accomplishment of a dream that started in 1969”.
With Pelé’s name and prestige, the research institute is set to grow and has the ambition of becoming one of the world’s leading research centres in combating children’s diseases.
The research institute, however, must find an annual income of £1 million.
The partnership between the Little Prince Hospital and Pelé was given a major lift in 2007 with the assistance of the Brazilian Mint.

Using pioneering lazar technology they devised and launched a campaign called ‘Gols pela Vida’ – Goals for Life.
Their aim is to commemorate each of the 1283 goals scored by Pelé in his career with a gold silver and bronze medal, and in doing so, help create a financial life-line for the Hospital’s work of bringing health, healing and hope to the thousands of Brazilian children it serves daily.

The campaign is a simple but brilliant concept and despite the harsh economic times, could, in addition to helping a good cause, prove to be a worthwhile investment for owners.

Quite apart from being a limited edition of 1283 sets, each coin, and set of coins, are unique in that they each carry an individual number, associated with a specific and verifiable goal scored by Pelé during his illustrious football career.

The medals can be purchased individually or as a set.
Each medal costs £900 (gold); £550 (silver) and £350 (bronze).
A full set costs £1650 (all prices include delivery).
As to be expected, medals numbered 1, 10, 100 and 1000 are not for sale as they are for auction.
The purchaser, in addition to the medal(s) will also receive a Certificate of Authenticity which will bear his or her name, or the name of a designated person who may receive them as a gift.
The certificate also carries details of the opposition Pelé scored the goal against, as well as the date of the game.
Pelé’s decision to partner with the Little Prince Hospital was explained at the launch of the research institute in 2005.
“I only play in a winning team,” he declared, and cited the hospital’s technical-scientific excellence allied to its compassionate assistance to Brazil’s children.
José Álvaro Carneiro, a member of the hospital’s board, states: “In this team there is always space for new solidarity partners.

Individuals and companies can become supporters of the projects of the Little Prince Hospital, which works to guarantee to all the children in our care their primary Human Rights: life and health.” Anyone interested in helping Pelé with his campaign to assist the Pelé Little Prince Research Institute can contact the author of this article for further details at the following address, giving their name and an address to which information can be sent: dmullan@hpp.org.br In recognition of that moment of magic, between Pelé and Banks in Mexico 1970, the Brazilian Mint agreed to add one more set of medals to its Goals for Life collection.

It is numbered 1284 and represents Gordon Banks’ wonder save.
So the great Banksy need not worry for his miracle save is doing more good today than the goal that Pelé “never scored”.

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The Fans World Cup

The Fans World Cup

“Football without fans is nothing”
– John ‘Jock’ Stein CBE

The Fans World Cup is a trophy I hope will become a feature of all World Cup Competitions in the future. It is a simple idea that can easily be extended across other sporting disciplines and eventually be developed at Continental and National levels.

Gordon Banks, Don Mullan, Archbishop Desmondd Tutu, Andrew Edwards (Artist), Pele and Terry Conroy with the Fans World

It is hoped that The Fans World Cup will be presented for the first time at the closing ceremony of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, to the fans of a participating team who are considered to have been the most sporting, friendly and respectful of the games and their hosts.

The aim is to create a trophy that fans aspire to achieve on behalf of their country and it is hoped fans from all participating nations will go to the games wishing to win it. Even if a country’s team fails to win the World Cup, The Fans World Cup would be a trophy every nation would also hope to win and it would be returned with great pride and joy to every successive winning nation.

The prototype of the trophy, designed by myself and Andrew Edwards, was presented to Archbishop Tutu, in the presence of Pelé and Gordon Banks, at the unveiling of the Gordon Banks Monument on 12 July 2008. All three were supportive of the concept, contributed their thoughts and ideas, and were happy to be photographed with the prototype as a sign of their approval and desire to see the idea progress.

The prototype is currently in Brazil and will be presented for consideration to the former FIFA President, Dr. João Havelange, in early 2011. Responding to the idea of a Fans World Cup the Football Association of Ireland commented in July 2008:

… The Football Association of Ireland believes that there is considerable merit to the proposal given the contribution that fans from many countries have made to the overall success of past World Cup tournaments.

An important dimension of the new World Cup is to harness the unrealised potential for good that fans possess and to harness this potential with a view to leaving behind in each host nation a major legacy project.

In the case of 2014, it is my hope The Fans World Cup might contribute to the establishment of an international endowment fund to benefit The Pelé Little Prince Hospital Medical Research Institute in Curitiba, Brazil, serving the biggest children’s hospital in Latin America.

I am in discussions with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Pelé about the possibility that they might draw up an aspirational list – a code of conduct – that fans would adhere to in the pursuit of winning the trophy during the 2014 Brazilian World Cup Finals.

There is a simple psychology behind the idea. Fans of the Republic of Ireland pride themselves on being the best fans in the world. When they travel abroad, therefore, to support their national team, they are conscious of the reputation they have of being respectful, good humoured, kind and sporting – win, lose or draw. They regularly leave a good impression and it is not unusual for hosts to express admiration at their behaviour or delight at the prospect of Ireland’s participation in a game because of the reputation of Irish fans. Conscious of this heritage, fans actually look out for each other and, very often, will intervene to diffuse a potentially troublesome situation.

The Fans World Cup – Prototype

Inspiration:

The inspiration was drawn from the following sources, and in keeping with the aspirations of the UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace:

(1) The 1914 Christmas Truce story – when German, French, Belgium and British soldiers crossed no-man’s land to sing carols, exchange gifts and play football during the first Christmas of World War I;

(2) A sheaf of wheat: symbol of feeding the world and the UN World Food Agency;

(3) The office of the UN special adviser to the Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace.

 

Gordon Banks with 3 World Cups

Design:
The base of the trophy will include stone taken from:

–    the site where the Christmas Truce football match was played in 1914, near Mesen-Ploegsteert, Belgium;
–    the football field on Robben Island, where President Nelson Mandela and his fellow prisoners played football on Saturday afternoons during their long incarceration under the apartheid regime;
–    the site of Pelé’s birthplace, Três Corações, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Around the base will be coloured bands reflecting the rainbow, and calling to mind Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s hope that following the apartheid era, South Africa would emerge as a Rainbow Nation and inspire the possibility of creating a Rainbow World celebrating the rich diversity of all humanity.

The middle section is a globe, representing the Earth, around which is a circular disc on which rests a football, suggesting the universal appeal of soccer. This disc also evokes ‘other-planetary’ ideas of our vast universe.

The third section is a series of five upturned WWI Lee Enfield rifles (each representing a Continent). An upturned rifle is a symbol of ceasefire and the end of conflict. The rifles are planted into the Earth. Emerging from the rifle butts are sheaves of wheat, a symbol of sustenance and the symbol of the UN World Food Programme. Together these symbolise Disarmament and Development (Development and Peace).

The upturned rifles and sheaves of wheat support a long elegant chalice. While it appears to have a vast capacity, the bowl is modestly shallow, reminding us that the Earth’s resources are there to sustain us all, providing we only take what we really need.

When completed, the trophy will represent the UN hope of harnessing Sport for Development and Peace.

Recognising the Potential of Fans

The Fans World Cup is a simple yet powerful concept.

Soccer is a spectators sport. Those who attend the games provide the electric atmosphere that brings the game to a higher dimension. Amazingly, the governing bodies of international soccer, including FIFA, have so far concentrated exclusively on rewarding the players of the sport, and failed to see the wonderful opportunity to maximise the potential of fans.

In addition to the World Cup, presented to the winning team, there are six other awards presented at the World Cup Finals: (1) The Adidas Golden Boot – awarded to the top goal scorer (2) The Adidas Golden Ball – for best player (3) The Yashin Award – for best goalkeeper (4) The FIFA Fair Play Award – for the most sporting team (5) The Most entertaining team and (6) The Best Young Player. In addition, there is the MasterCard All-Star Team, comprising the best players of the tournament in their respective positions.

The important role of fans has yet to be properly recognised. The Fans World Cup will change this.

Global Viewing Figures – FACTS!

FACT:
The FIFA World Cup Finals are the most-watched sports event in history.

FACT:
The FIFA World Cup Finals is the greatest sports event in the world, with over 140 countries competing for a place in the final 32 slots.

FACT:
Television coverage of the 2006 games was the most extensive ever.

FACT:
–    376 channels aired the event compared to 232 in 2002
–    There were 43,500 broadcasts across 214 counties and territories
–    This amounted to a total coverage of 73,072 hours
o    an increase of 76% on 2002 games (41,435 hours)
o    an 148% increase on the 1998 games.
–    If the 2006 coverage were shown on just one channel, it would take over eight years to broadcast non-stop!
–    A staggering 26.29 billion cumulative viewers watched the 2006 tournament, making it the most-watched sports event in history.

FACT:
Viewers are growing in both established and new markets. For example, the cumulative audience in Brazil increased from 1.35 billion in 2002 to 1.72 billion in 2006 (+27.8%) despite the fact that Brazil won the competition in 2002 and were knocked out in the quarter final stages in 2006. The cumulative audience in North America and the Caribbean was 829.1 million – representing a 76.8% increase over the 2002 total.

Source: FIFA.com, 6 February 2007

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First Night of Freedom

First Night of Freedom

56th anniversary of the Sharpeville Massacre

Introduction

In 1982 I invited Bishop Desmond Tutu, who was then Secretary-General of the South African Council of Churches, to address an international conference on World Peace and Poverty in Dublin, organised to mark the 800th anniversary of the birth of St. Francis of Assisi. He accepted my invitation but was unable to attend as his passport had been confiscated by the Apartheid Regime because he had begun to call for international sanctions against South Africa.

Two years later, just three months before he was declared the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, he fulfilled his commitment to me and came to Dublin. It was the beginning of a friendship which has endured for over three decades.

In 1985 I was denied entrance into South Africa and had my non-visa requirement as an Irish citizen withdrawn because of my anti-apartheid activities. I had been invited by Bishop Tutu, then the first ever black bishop of Johannesburg.

Don Mullan, left, with Leah and Desmond Tutu, lead the 1992 Famine Walk

In 1992, Archbishop Desmond and Mrs Leah Tutu accepted my invitation to lead the 5th annual AFrI Great ‘Famine’ Walk from Doolough to Louisburgh, Co. Mayo, which I had conceived and started in 1988.

In 1994, I was the guest of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Anglican Primate of Southern Africa, at the historic inauguration of President Nelson Mandela. During that visit he invited me to speak at a symposium on Robben Island, where Madiba had spent the majority of his 27 years incarceration, convened to consider its future use.
I have since returned several times to South Africa, most recently on two occasions in 2013, as the guest of the Tutu family, to create a major photographic exhibition for the France/South Africa Season, publicly displayed at Place du Palais Royal, beside the Louvre Museum, Paris. The second visit was to attend the funeral of President Mandela.

Nelson Mandela’s Release

Nelson Mandela walks free, accompanied by his wife, Winnie.

The world held its breath on 11 February 1990 as we awaited our first glimpse of Nelson Mandela following his release. My eldest daughter, Thérèse, will turn 29 on 26 April 2016. One of our most treasured memories is when she was just three-years-old, sitting on my knee, before our television set in Dublin. I wanted her to be a witness to history. It was one of the great and noble days in the history of humanity when Madiba was released from Victor Verster Prison in South Africa.

“Why are you crying Daddy?” my little girl asked.
“I hope you will remember this day, Thérèse”, I replied, “because today the man you see waving and smiling is walking free from prison where he was held by unfair and unjust people for more than 27 years.”

We had yet to comprehend the colossus who filled our screens. Here was a son of Africa, the most abused continent on earth, who elevated the human condition and breathed hope into a tired world – and all because he refused to hate and seek revenge.

Origin of Idea

Nelson Mandela arrives at Bishopscourt, Cape Town, for his first night of freedom, as the guest of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

It had escaped me, as it has escaped most people, the fact that Nelson Mandela spent his first night of Freedom at the residence of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Just before returning to Ireland after attending the inauguration of Madiba as the first democratically elected President of the new South Africa on 10 May 1994, I visited the Archbishop at his residence in Bishopscourt, Cape Town. During a tour of the residence he brought both myself and a colleague to a bedroom and informed us that it was here that President Mandela and his wife Winnie had spent his first night after his release from prison. This fact had entirely escaped me.

Over the years the significance of this historical detail has exercised my curiosity and interest. It is the origin of my idea and concept for a stage play, destined for Broadway and the Westend, as well as a book and a major documentary film, simply entitled:

FIRST NIGHT OF FREEDOM

Concept:
Archbishop Desmond Tutu is one of the great global icons who bridges the 20th and 21st Century. His fearless commitment to justice and racial equality during the South African apartheid era permanently placed him in physical and moral peril.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu holds aloft the hand of Nelson Mandela in triumph after he was proclaimed State President of South Africa (PHOTO: Dudley Brooks, 10 May 1994)

It is an overlooked but crucial fact of history that it was at the residence of Desmond Tutu Nelson Mandela chose to spend his first night of freedom in Cape Town. It was South Africa’s political leader meeting South Africa’s moral leader who, during the apartheid era (when black political leaders were either in prison, in exile or, like Steve Biko, sent to an early grave) had fearlessly confronted the Apartheid Regime with the doctrine of active non-violence.

While security was a factor, to stay with Tutu was a very deliberate decision by Mandela who was already charting South Africa’s future and the need for a process of truth and reconciliation which he believed Tutu could deliver. It was also Mandela’s recognition and ‘Thank You’ for the seminal role that Desmond Tutu had played in his absence.
Where Mandela spent his first night of freedom, therefore, was both strategic and a statement of intent.

Because of the momentous events that were unfolding around his release, this important moment of South African history has been largely overlooked and the encounter between Mandela and Tutu, its meaning and outcome, has yet to be explored in depth.

Stage Play:
The primary concept is that of creating a four-person drama for stage.
The four characters are: Nelson and Winnie Mandela; and Desmond and Leah Tutu.
The play begins at midnight and ends at dawn, symbolising the transition from darkness to light – from oppression to freedom.
The play offers four major roles for black actors.
The setting is a spacious and comfortable sitting room with a fireplace in the Anglican Archbishop’s residence in Cape Town. The conversation is animated.
The conversation explores the past, present and future hopes for the new South Africa.
All four characters tell many stories of their respective experiences.

Mandela recounts his 17-months on the run, some lucky escapes and the night of August 5th 1962 when the luck of the ‘Black Pimpernel’ ran out at a police roadblock on R103 near Howick in KwaZulu-Natal. He reflects on key historical events, such as Sharpeville, which forced him to change the ANC’s policy of non-violence. He speaks of his frustrations, learning of the unfolding tragedies in his prison cell on Robben Island.

The crowd from which Tutu rescued the alleged police informer

In response to a question from Mandela, Tutu recounts the afternoon at Duduza in July 1985 when, following a funeral, he came upon a crowd about the ‘necklace’ an alleged informer. With a blazing car in the background, the petrol filled tire was already around a young man’s neck, when Tutu risked his own by weighing into the crowd to save the young man’s life.

Leah Tutu recalls her experience at the funeral of Steve Biko in September 1977 and the lies told by the authorities concerning his murder, and questions whether or not Biko was already dead before being placed in a cell in Pretoria after enduring a 1000 kilometre drive on the floor of a South African police Landover, despite a fatal head trauma, inflicted during his torture in East London, that required urgent medical attention.

Winnie Mandela is, at times, belligerent and militant and one senses the anger that she has nursed over three decades of targeted harassment, abuse, house arrest and imprisonment. Truth and Reconciliation is a far cry from the justice she wants exacted on the supporters of apartheid. There is clear tension and disagreement between Nelson and Winnie, evidenced by a heated exchange, over the unexpected tone of reconciliation and forgiveness that Madiba wishes to discuss with Tutu. She doubts if Steve Biko’s family, as an example, will be willing to follow her husband’s direction.

The conversation turns to the present and all that needs to be done, not least organising and campaigning for South Africa’s first democratic elections, the writing of a new constitution, and the transition to an ANC Government.
And then the future, not just Mandela’s request that Tutu act as Chairperson for his proposed Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but also for the time when he and Father Tutu, Winnie and Leah will be no more and future generations, who are the first to be born into freedom, must take responsibility for the country and carry forward their hope of a multi-racial, ethnic, religious rainbow nation.

Desmond Tutu hand President Mandela the TRC Reports

As Dawn breaks and the couples prepare to retire, one hears echoes of the inspiration that filled Madiba’s inauguration speech in May 1994 and Tutu’s opening remarks in 1996 as Chairman of the TRC, all aimed at promoting national unity and reconciliation.

The audience has been witness to an intimate and unique glimpse at history and the personal lives and insights of key historic players in the epic struggle to rid South Africa of the tyranny of apartheid. We are uplifted and left hoping, that this miraculous and marvellous moment of hope, is forever honoured, through humane justice and the politics of integrity, as an epitaph to all who suffered and died for the birth of a new Republic of South Africa.

Interviews, Playwright, Documentary and Book:
There is urgency to record interviews with the key witnesses to Nelson Mandela’s first night of freedom. The key witnesses are advancing in age and it is imperative that we record their memories and reflections as soon as possible. These include Desmond and Leah Tutu, Winnie Mandela and Mandela’s third wife, Graça Machel.
In addition to being primary research material for a playwright, the interviews will also form part of a major international television documentary with the working title: ‘The Making of ‘First Night of Freedom’’.
The recorded interviews will also be essential material for a book entitled ‘First Night of Freedom’ which I propose to do.

With Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s 85th birthday in October 2016, we have an opportunity to revisit the significance of Nelson Mandela’s First Night of Freedom which he chose to spend with Tutu.

Desmond Tutu has given me permission to develop this idea and has agreed to co-operate.

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