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    Posted December 5, 2013 by
    New York, New York
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Nelson Mandela: Your memories

    More from JoyfulGypsy

    Ladysmith Black Mambazo Reflect on Nelson Mandela


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     New Jersey resident Luis Leal sent these photos of Nelson Mandela with the music group Ladysmith Black Mambazo in Leeds, England, in 2001 -- and in South Africa. Leal says the Mandela joined the band onstage in Leeds. Her husband is the group's business manager. She says: 'In Our lifetime, we were able to witness the greatness of ultimate forgiveness and peaceful resolution instead of violent response. If we all can think of and act as Mandela, we all would be greater people.'
    - nsaidi, CNN iReport producer

    My husband, Mitch Goldstein, has been Ladysmith Black Mambazo's Business Manager for the past 23 years and had the honor of meeting Nelson Mandela at a special event in Leeds, England, where Ladysmith Black Mambazo was invited to perform in 2001. Photos of that event are included above.


    Hours after their former president's death, the members of the multi-Grammy Award winning South African choral group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, penned a poignant tribute to Nelson Mandela,Thursday evening (Dec. 5, 2013).


    "The Father of our nation, Nelson Mandela, has finished his journey. One wants to think in terms of big words when describing him, but this would not be right. Among the many things one can say about our Madiba (Nelson Mandela's tribal name) is that he never thought of himself as big. He was one of us, one of the people. His journey was our journey. And although he has physically left us now, his journey continues within us all.


    Although he was one of us, Mandela was able to change our nation because of his incredible will, dignity and humanity. We are often asked about our most memorable career moments. The expected answer is usually about work with famous entertainers or about winning Grammy Awards. The truth is that our most memorable moment was when Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. He asked us to join him on this trip to receive the award in Norway, to sing and to represent our nation. He often said that we are South Africa‘s 'Cultural Ambassadors' to the world. We took this honor very seriously.


    Now, it's left for all of us to carry on his mission. We must continue the journey of making not just South Africa, but the whole world, a peaceful, forgiving place. If we all keep Mandela's way within us, we can achieve greatness. As we continue to spread the message of Peace, Love and Harmony, we re-dedicate ourselves to Mandela and his dream of a Rainbow Nation, a Rainbow World, in fact.


    May his journey continue in the soul and spirits of all who were touched by him."


    Photos by Lulis Leal

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