Professor Adrian Hadland
Thu 17th January 2019 at 19.00 - 21.00
Topic:- Nelson Mandela,
Rotary Club of Stirling meeting of 17 January 2019.President Sandy Farquharson welcomed a large gathering of members and guests to a special evening meeting. Our speaker was Professor Adrian Hadland head of division communications media and culture at Stirling University.
In his late teens, Adrian moved to South Africa in 1983, at a time of great political turmoil, and after studying at the University of Cape Town, gravitated towards journalism, joining a new independent paper The Weekly Mail. The state of emergency declared in 1983 banned all comment about government and the paper frequently found itself in conflict with the authorities. At that time Nelson Mandela, a lawyer, and prince of the Xhosa tribe, was imprisoned on Robben island, only being released after 27 years in 1990. After a spell abroad, Adrian returned to South Africa in 1991, working again as a reporter, and was in that capacity that he came into regular contact with Madela, who tended to keep the press informed formally and informally, about the discussions of the Transitional Executive Committee. The committee was working to move the country from the edge of civil war to a new democratic government. This was a huge task and for this achievement both de Klerk and Mandela were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1993. As an Important part of this process Mandela established the truth commission which met in centres all over the country, allowing individuals from both sides to speak honestly about their actions during Apartheid, allowing them to leave much of the bitterness and anger in the past. Adrian particularly remembered the unveiling of the new national flag, and a Christmas spent at Mandela's house with his family and neighbours. Despite what he had suffered during Apartheid, and the loss of family contact during his 27 years in jail, Mandela always looked to the future. He was a kind man, fond of the company of children, and also courageous. At his trial when it was expected that he would be given the death penalty, he appeared in his full Xhosa regalia, denying nothing, saying that if they wished to execute him that was up to the judge. To every one’s surprise the sentence was life in prison, mainly on Robben island. He was president from 1994-99, declining a second term. Adrian regards Mandela as a remarkable man, concerned for others, and aware of his own weaknesses.
The vote of thanks for this memorable talk was given by Peter Mehta.
Next week's meeting 25th January Speaker’s host Alister Morrison, visitor's host Philp Allison.