This is going to be my shortest best ever: http://www.kwandika.com/en/
O empresário moçambicano, Abílio Soeiro lançou hoje em Maputo, a obra “Obrigado Madiba”, uma autobiografia em homenagem ao histórico líder sul-africano, Nelson Mandela.
A obra, composta por 263 páginas em texto e fotografias, retrata, basicamente, 13 anos de convivência entre o autor e o antigo presidente sul-africano e, segundo avançou em entrevista a reportagem da Voz da América na capital moçambicana, a mesma pretende transmitir o legado de Mandela para Moçambique.“Nelson Mandela deixa um legado em Moçambique. São 15 anos que ele convive com famílias moçambicanas e essa parte ninguém escreveu e é um pouco disso que retracto no livro” disse Soeiro.O livro levou dois anos a ser redigido e o seu lançamento marcou em Moçambique, a passagem dos 95 anos de vida de Mandela, que há mais de um mês está internado sob cuidados intensivos.Foi com emoção e lágrimas na ponta dos olhos que Soeiro falou da saída neste momento de aperto para todos os que conviveram com Mandela.De acordo com o autor, metade dos valores da venda do “Obrigado Madiba” vão reverter a um dos maiores projectos de Mandela, que é o hospital pediátrico construído para servir crianças carenciadas de toda a região austral de África, em particular.” FONTE: VOA MOÇAMBIQUE, VOZ DA AMÉRICA
N.B. UM FORTE ABRAÇO DE PARABÉNS ABÍLIO SOEIRO.
IT WAS no ordinary book launch. The audience of several hundred crammed into a hall in one of Maputo’s top hotels on Thursday night was a who’s who of Mozambican high society, including the wife of President Armando Guebuza, Maria da Luz Guebuza, and former president Joaquim Chissano. They had come to pay homage to a former resident of the city, Nelson Mandela, who was lying in a hospital bed hundreds of kilometres away.
The launch of a book called Thank You, Madiba, written by Abilio Soeiro, a Mozambican man who struck up a friendship with Mr Mandela during the decade or so he spent shuttling between the Mozambican capital and South Africa, delivered an excuse to reflect on the meaning of Madiba’s legacy in Mozambique.
Smatterings of South African classics such as Shosholoza and Miriam Makeba’s Pata Pata set the tone for the evening, along with archive footage of the Soweto riots in 1976 and of Mr Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela emerging from the gates of Pollsmoor prison. Tito Mboweni, the former head of South Africa’s Reserve Bank, led the crowd in singing Happy Birthday.
Sadness at Mr Mandela’s failing health was tempered by the celebration of the links forged between the two countries during their respective liberation struggles. Madiba’s 95th birthday is also the 15th anniversary of his wedding to Mozambique’s former first lady Graca Machel.
“I would like to congratulate Graca for the role she has played during these difficult times when Madiba has been unwell,” Mr Mboweni said, adding: “I should have listened to my parents when they told me, ‘Go to Mozambique to find a dignified wife.’”
Mr Mboweni, who accepted a cheque for R200,000 from Mr Soeiro on the early sales of the coffee-table book as a contribution to the building of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital in Johannesburg, sang a Frelimo struggle song, drawing attention to the strong bonds between the Mozambican former liberation movement, now the country’s ruling party, and the African National Congress.
He even poked fun at South Africa’s high commissioner in Mozambique, Charles Nqakula, who, he said, had run guns through Mozambique during struggle times. “He committed crimes here,” he told the crowd.
“Nelson Mandela cannot live forever. At some point he is going to leave the earth,” Mr Nqakula reminded the audience, speaking of Mr Mandela’s legacy in avoiding bloodshed in the early, volatile years as South Africa emerged from apartheid. “Comrade Bio (as the author is affectionately known), you are fortunate to have rubbed shoulders with a giant. Many are not so fortunate.”
When the softly spoken Mr Soeiro asked the audience to get to their feet to wish Mr Mandela a fast recovery, they did so as one and the hall rang to thunderous applause.
“All of us have accepted his invitation to bow down before this inspiring leader whose legacy transcends South Africa’s borders,” said Mr Guebuza, the Mozambican president, in a prerecorded video message played at the launch.
Despite the intertwined relations between South Africa and its Lusophone neighbour, the two countries have also had their ups and downs.
“Recently we have been talking a lot about xenophobia,” Mr Chissano said on the sidelines of the launch, referring to the death of Mozambican taxi driver Mido Macia in police custody in South Africa earlier in 2013. “This book can change this discourse to one of greater closeness between the two peoples, and that is desirable,” he added.
Celebration in New York
Meanwhile, in the US, New York celebrated Mandela Day with an informal meeting of the general assembly at the United Nations attended by former US president Bill Clinton, Rev Jesse Jackson, singer and social activist Harry Belafonte and Mr Mandela’s fellow Rivonia trialist Andrew Mlangeni.
A smattering of quotes from Mr Mandela filled the billboards of Times Square amid continuing charity efforts to help those affected by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
The Big Apple, which is the first US city Mr Mandela visited on his release from prison in 1990, joined 17 other cities across the country to commemorate the day.
In Washington, DC, a gathering led by House speaker John Boehner at Emancipation Hall revolved around Mr Mandela’s life, legacy and values, while in Boston, a celebration of the former statesman’s 95th birthday took place at a church near the site of the Boston Marathon bombings. It was attended by the city’s mayor, Thomas Merino and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.
Mandela Day in 2013 took place in the US as the country grappled with issues of race and social equality, following the verdict reached by a jury in the George Zimmerman case, where the former neighbourhood watch leader was acquitted of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin’s death.
South Africa’s ambassador to the US, Ebrahim Rasool, said the teenager’s death and the reaction to the ruling showed how Mr Mandela’s example of racial tolerance continued to speak to present-day issues. “People want to have an example of healing and how one can reconcile when there is an appearance of injustice,” he said. “If we look at the Trayvon Martin aftermath through the lens of Nelson Mandela, it validates how he continues to shape how we must think about these very difficult matters that confront us from time to time.”
Nicole Lee, president of TransAfrica, a US-based human rights organisation that helped mobilise anti-apartheid pressure, said the mood in the US was partly the reason for the creation of the hashtag #MandelaMatters on Twitter.
“In the discussion about racism and the problems we have domestically, Mr Mandela is a transformative figure in these matters,” she said. “He speaks truth to power — for people around the world. We hope through these celebrations we can ensure that his legacy can permeate what is happening in the US.”
Mr Rasool said the willingness of Americans to take part in Mandela Day events was a continuation of the “remarkable role non-South Africans played in the anti-apartheid struggle”. He said honouring Mr Mandela was “a celebration of a human spirit that knows no boundaries”.
Aside from giving their time, Americans have also been encouraged to donate denominations that play on the number 67 for the building of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.
“This has been a way for Americans to show what we are about,” said Ms Lee. “That we are not just concerned with things that go on in our own backyard but that we are interested in what goes on outside of that too.”
She said teachers and professors were working on a curriculum around Mr Mandela’s history to be taught at institutions in the US.
“We are trying to create tools for young people who were born after Mandela’s release to help them understand his struggle and his importance. There are lots of parallels between his story and the civil rights movement here,” she said.
“We had a saying 25 years ago: we have to walk and chew gum at the same time. We can deal with domestic issues but we should support international ones too.”
With its support for Mandela Day, the US was sticking true to this saying.
Um convite para dirigir o grupo que organizou a inauguração da casa de Nelson Mandela e Graça Machel em Maputo proporcionou a Abílio Soeiro a oportunidade de se tornar amigo de uma das famílias mais respeitadas no mundo.
Hoje, o empresário moçambicano expressa o seu agradecimento ao líder histórico sul-africano e à sua esposa Graça Machel por tudo que lhe ensinaram ao longo dos 15 anos de convivência, numa obra intitulada “Obrigado Mandela”, dirigida ao prémio Nobel da Paz, que comemora hoje 95 anos.
O autor do livro, cujos resultados da venda serão destinados a organizações beneméritas, como o Hospital pediátrico Nelson Mandela, lembra em entrevista à Lusa o modo “bastante curioso” como se fez amigo do ícone mundial, cuja relação de amizade “não foi feita diretamente com ele”.
“Conheci a família Machel, que, numa abordagem, me convidou para que eu fizesse parte de um grupo que ia organizar a apresentação da sua nova casa em Moçambique. Eu fiz parte disso como diretor de protocolo deste evento”, conta Abílio Soeiro, ou “Bio” como é tratado pelo emblemático líder anti-apartheid.
E, inesperadamente, no próprio dia da apresentação, viu-o “a cerca de 30 metros de mim” de distância.
“Acenei”, relata, até porque “ninguém fica indiferente quando passa perante uma figura como o Nelson Mandela” e acrescenta: “ele também me acenou com um sorriso”.
Um sorriso que, de resto, permitiu no fim da tarde do mesmo dia, depois de acabar todo o trabalho, que Abílio Soeiro e sua esposa tivessem a oportunidade de tirar a primeira fotografia ao lado de Nelson Mandela, “um homem com caráter e valores muito fortes”, segundo o empresário.
A partir deste momento, houve vários encontros entre ambos na residência de Graça Machel e Mandela, que, aliás “volta e meia estava em Maputo”, um dos lugares mais frequentados pelo então Presidente sul-africano, o primeiro na era pós-apartheid, depois de se retirar da política.
No primeiro dia como diretor do protocolo de receção do casal, Abílio Soeiro nunca pensou que se poderia tornar tão próximo de “Madiba”, nome de clã pelo qual é carinhosamente tratado Nelson Mandela, não fosse o dia em que a família Soeiro recebeu um convite “para um almoço em privado em dezembro” do ano 2000.
“Foi a partir daí, das nossas conversas, que começa a nascer esta amizade. Foi tudo muito rápido”, apontou.
Mas, quinzenalmente, havia sempre um motivo para um café, ou qualquer evento, e mesmo que fosse familiar, os Soeiro eram convidados, lembra entusiamado.
“Acredito que ele devia gostar de todo este ambiente de que ele foi rodeado em Maputo. Ele teve um ambiente fantástico da família moçambicana”, a começar pela da esposa, Graça Machel, nascida em Moçambique, assinala.
“Portanto, quando eu falo da Graça, falo dos filhos, dos netos. Aquele calor humano que ele (Nelson Mandela) recebia era qualquer coisa de extraoridinário”, descreve.
Para Abílio Soeiro, o lado excecional do comportamento humano dos moçambicanos passava também pela forma como Nelson Mandela se fascinava pelas coisas de Moçambique, como o caranguejo recheado.
“Este era o prato preferido. Mas havia uma particularidade: sempre que ele me convidava gostava de codornizes, mas estas eram preparadas pela minha mulher, porque ela é uma exímia cozinheira. Eram os doces que a minha mulher fazia e essas codornizes. Ele deleitava-se. Comia a mão, alias, a codorniz é quase mesmo para comer a mão. Ele dizia: ´eu quero aqueles passarinhos`. Entao, lá tinha as codornizes que ele adorava. Fazia parte disso: gostar da nossa comida cá de Moçambique”, diz Abílio Soeiro.
Por Alfonso Filho
O empresário moçambicano Abílio Soeiro efectuou ao princípio da noite desta quinta-feira o lançamento oficial da sua obra «Obrigado Madiba», um livro com 450 fotografias e muitos episódios.
«É um livro em que, para além das fotografias, conta algumas histórias da visita de Madiba Moçambique, assim como alguns encontros que mantive com ele na sua terra natal, na África do Sul», disse Abílio Soeiro.
Editado em dez línguas, o autor diz que foi uma feliz coincidência o facto de o lançamento da obra ser na data em que Mandela completa 95 anos.
«O livro está pronto há cerca de dois anos, mas por causa do interesse de traduzi-los em várias línguas e ser lançado ao mesmo tempo levou a um adiamento», revelou Abílio Soeiro.
O autor afirma que o livro sugere um reconhecimento das qualidades e valores sublimes e de amizade que consolida com Nelson Mandela, ícone da luta contra o Apartheid e pela dignidade dos homens e mulheres de todo o nosso Planeta.
«Obrigado Madiba» será vendido ao preço que não vai superar os dois mil meticais, sendo que parte da receita será destinada a acções de cariz de solidariedade.
O livro levou dois anos a ser redigido e o seu lançamento marcou em Moçambique a passagem dos 95 anos de vida de Mandela.
O empresário moçambicano, Abílio Soeiro lançou hoje em Maputo, a obra “Obrigado Madiba”, uma autobiografia em homenagem ao histórico líder sul-africano, Nelson Mandela.
A obra, composta por 263 páginas em texto e fotografias, retrata, basicamente, 13 anos de convivência entre o autor e o antigo presidente sul-africano e, segundo avançou em entrevista a reportagem da Voz da América na capital moçambicana, a mesma pretende transmitir o legado de Mandela para Moçambique.
“Nelson Mandela deixa um legado em Moçambique. São 15 anos que ele convive com famílias moçambicanas e essa parte ninguém escreveu e é um pouco disso que retracto no livro” disse Soeiro.
O livro levou dois anos a ser redigido e o seu lançamento marcou em Moçambique, a passagem dos 95 anos de vida de Mandela, que há mais de um mês está internado sob cuidados intensivos.
Foi com emoção e lágrimas na ponta dos olhos que Soeiro falou da saída neste momento de aperto para todos os que conviveram com Mandela.
De acordo com o autor, metade dos valores da venda do “Obrigado Madiba” vão reverter a um dos maiores projectos de Mandela, que é o hospital pediátrico construído para servir crianças carenciadas de toda a região austral de África, em particular.
“MY LIFE was totally transformed by this man,” Mozambican businessman Abilio Soeiro says, trying to put into words how the entrance of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela into his life changed everything.
The afternoon sunlight slants into the drawing room of Mr Soeiro’s home in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo, where signed portraits of his famous friend line the walls.
The house is on the same street as Mr Mandela and Graca Machel’s home where Mr Soeiro and his wife, Lola, were once regular guests to lunch, or just to watch TV.
Mr Soeiro had already established a name for himself as a self-made businessman importing luxury French brands by the time he met Mr Mandela in August 2000.
Because of his “special organisational skills”, he says, he was asked to help organise the couple’s housewarming party.
As he began to move in the same circles as Madiba, their friendship deepened into one of mutual respect and affection.
“Bio”, as Madiba affectionately called him, came to be defined by his relationship to the elder statesman. “His stature is so great,” he says, “that a woman asked to be photographed with me just to have a picture of some one who knows him.”
Naomi Campbell, Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Bono — you name them, he has met the celebrities and “they would not have been interested in me if I did not know Mr Mandela”.
Although Mr Mandela came to Maputo to escape the political limelight in South Africa, his presence was like a magnet, attracting the glitterati to Maputo during the time he spent there.
A regular guest at these functions, Mr Soeiro collected the photographs and memorabilia (including dinner menus) and the result provides a unique window, not just of Mr Mandela’s influence on Mozambique’s social fabric (where his wife Graca is known as Mama Graca), but also of his deepening relationship with his new family, the Machel-Sambine clan.
“These years he spent getting to know his Mozambican family is a part of Nelson Mandela’s life nobody has written about really,” Mr Soeiro says explaining why he wrote the book. “I believe he must have felt very happy here and enjoyed life in Maputo.
“Mr Mandela received such tenderness, not just from Graca, but also from her children. He never felt isolated.”
You won’t find long snatches of deep conversation between the two men or insights into Mandela’s inner intellectual life in the book. Instead, it is a loving record by a man who treasured the small moments he passed with Madiba or witnessed between him and others: for instance, the cook at Graca and Madiba’s family home, who speaks of Mandela’s love for her succulent Maputo crabs with “matapa” (a traditional spinach and peanut mix).
The author poignantly remembers the first time he saw Mr Mandela, bent over some flowers near the door and waved to him, receiving a characteristic, beaming smile in return.
Mr Soeiro and his wife received an invitation to a private lunch at Graca and Madiba’s home and the friendship deepened. Thereafter, the two couples were present at all each other’s big occasions: family birthdays, weddings and graduations.
Mr Soeiro celebrated six of his own birthdays at his famous neighbour’s home and travelled to South Africa for star-studded celebrations of Madiba’s 85th and 90th birthdays.
All this time, Mr Soeiro was busy with a journey of his own, and one that explains the title of the book Thank you, Madiba. Mr Soeiro, who had dropped out before finishing school decided to study again, encouraged by Madiba, who told him not to be embarrassed by the desire to learn, no matter his age.
Seven years later, he emerged with a master’s degree in marketing.
“Mr Mandela always encouraged me. Every time I passed a year he organised a dinner at his house to congratulate me,” Mr Soeiro remembers.
The last time the two friends met was shortly after Madiba’s 94th birthday. Mr Mandela was now too weak to travel to Mozambique and they had not seen each other in two years.
Mr Soeiro was desperate to see him one last time and show him the draft of his book. When Graca gave him the green light he flew over straight away and spent more than five hours, with the ageing man.
“He did not speak much. Sometimes he held my hand. It was clear, he did not have the same energy.”
Mr Soeiro gave his friend a copy of the book and a bottle of 100-year-old Portuguese wine for them to drink on his 100th birthday together. As he was preparing to go Mr Mandela asked his assistant to bring the book up to his room.
“So I knew he wanted to read it,” says Mr Soeiro, who can no longer contain the tears.
On his 95th birthday, the first big milestone the two men will spend apart, Mr Soeiro says even old friends need to give the family space to honour him properly.
• Thank You, Madiba (translated into 10 languages) is being launched on Mandela Day in Maputo by former Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni.