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Thank you for local Mandela Day observance

Nelson Mandela

Dear Sir,

We have concluded the first local observance of the United Nations Nelson Mandela Day. While we have yet to conduct a full-scale post mortem regarding the extent of involvement of local residents in this international celebration, it is clear that this foundational action has been a learning experience.

I have just responded to an e-mail sent on behalf of the Acting US Counsel General, who reported that their office had spent much of Friday, July 17 trying to secure involvement in a charitable action that would have fitted into the acting counsel’s busy Saturday schedule.

We take responsibility for not effectively and adequately circulating the contact network in a timely manner so that scheduling could have been achieved more easily.

This and other lessons will be taken on board in preparations for next year’s observance.

That will give us an opportunity to build on to the community of 1,500 residents who made some contact on our Facebook page.

That said, we wish to express our deepest appreciation for those who collaborated in getting the observance off the ground. This includes the media, both electronic and print, who provided the conduit to get the word out. In addition, we must offer thanks to Cabinet Secretary Derrick Binns as well as the principals of the hubs involved, including Age Concern, Chewstick Foundation, King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, National Office of the Elderly and Disabled, and the Salvation Army.

Special mention must be made of the co-operation of the Eastern Counties Cricket Association in facilitating having its first game of the county season being opened with 67 seconds of silence in recognition of the significance of the day. That same pause was adopted by the Island’s five broadcast companies, support that made Bermuda unique in this global observance. It was that same collaborative spirit that facilitated the broadcasting of a piece of prose on Mandela, written and presented by 12-year-old X’achela Simons during the tea break.

The spirit of this action of solidarity was no better demonstrated than by Clifford Pearman, a carpenter who volunteered to assist at the Salvation Army Shelter. Notwithstanding that he was the only outside volunteer who turned up on Saturday from the group of pledgees, he joined the shelter’s supervisor, Jamel Bean, and one of the clients and painted the inside of the facility.

Clifford’s action is reminiscent of that of Mandela, who decided against the advice of his colleagues and lawyers to make his “I am prepared to die” speech before being sentenced to life in prison. Avoiding “going along with the crowd”, they both have demonstrated being guided by inner conscience.

For the “Happy Hour — with a Difference”, on the eve of Mandela Day, we express appreciation to the Bermuda College for hosting the event. Our thanks also go to the three presenters who provided nutshell presentations of their life stories: Dexter Smith, Darren Burchall and Tulani Bulford. As the diverse audience attempted to digest the “food for thought” offered, they were satisfied by food, provided in part by Four Star/Upper Crust and beverage donated by Barritt’s.

The evening event was concluded by a musical jam co-ordinated by Johnny Woolridge, which included some up-and-coming musical artists, as well as by notable veterans such as “Shine” Hayward, David Skinner, Jeff Marshall, “Tubby” Richardson, “Wincy” Woolridge and Darius Richardson.

The cross-generational group used this period to give birth to a new piece of music, entitled Zeni, which means “Hope”. It is the name that Mandela gave to his grandchild born while he was still imprisoned. It is a commitment that these artists felt was relevant to Bermuda in 2015. Again, to all those involved in this weekend’s activity, we express our thanks.



On behalf of ADHT and Imagine Bermuda