Apple honors Nelson Mandela

Apple pays tribute to Nelson Mandela

Apple's home page has been updated with a tribute to former South African President Nelson Mandela, who died earlier this week. One of the greatest leaders of our era, Mandela went from political prisoner to head of state during the course of his lifetime. Through the sheer power of his will and heart, he saw his country out of the dark ages, and held it together when it could so very easily have collapsed into chaos and calamity. He challenged his people to be and do better.

My parents were born in South Africa. My sister and I were born in South Africa. We left while Mandela was still in prison, but watched from afar as he became president. Our modern leaders should make it the mission of their lives to demonstrate but an ounce of his grace and effect but a measure of his healing.

I'm not certain how many consumer electronic companies donate their home pages to such tributes, but I don't expect it is many. Mandela obviously inspired Apple, as he inspired a people and a nation. He can and should inspire a world. In his memory, where you see hate, offer love. Where you see pettiness, provoke greatness. When called upon to lead or to choose leaders, understand what true leadership is, and the respect, compassion, and courage required of it.

In loving memory.

  • "I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."
  • "Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again."
  • "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."
  • "Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people."
  • "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite"

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Apple honors Nelson Mandela


"Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do." - Nelson Mandela

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"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead." - Nelson Mandela

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Rene, thanks for sharing and now knowing a piece of your history it makes the piece more meaningful and powerful.

That said, I don't think its in the DNA of most companies to do what Apple did. Apple stayed true to their origins and I can respect that. However, if a company with no history like Apple's simply throws up a tribute it comes off like pandering. I'd rather see them being what they are rather use Mandela's passing as a way to score marketing points with a consumer group. Call me jaded, but I simply can't stand being marketed to or told what to think/do by folks chasing revenue targets.

Thanks, Rene, a nice tribute.

My favorite Mandela quotes that you probably won't see in the corporate media:

When the Republicans and Democrats were preparing to invade Iraq:

“If you look at those matters, you will come to the conclusion that the attitude of the United States of America is a threat to world peace.”

After they did:

“If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don’t care for human beings.”

And that is your favorite quote? I guess you're a Communist like Mandela was. While I didn't support the Iraq invasion, there was one surefire way to have made sure we didn't go in there, or any other country, post 9/11, and that was for Muslim extremists to have not declared Jihad against us and the rest of the western world. I have enormous respect for what Mandela went through and celebrate his triumph over unspeakable cruelty and racism, but I have ZERO respect for the ANC, which was a Communist organization, that believed in everything but a free market and economic liberty for people. The media is much less corporate and more of a propaganda wing of the Democratic Party at this point.

Do you work for MSNBC?

Nope, I don't work for Fox, I just tell the truth and speak facts. Sorry that interferes with your leftist line of thinking.

Sorry, facts aren't your strong point. Typical of the reactionary, right-wing mindset , you actually think a corporate media outlet could be "leftist"! Brother. Mainstream, corporate media are as liberal or leftist as the corporations that own them. Get a clue.

because is what the apartheid system that we had in our country tried to make everyone who was not part of it see it like that, even the late Lady Prime Minister of UK said to Mandela,there will never be a black president in South Africa, we were made criminals, by the oppressors, i was born, raised, and i still leave in South Africa.

Yes if it was not Mandela, we could have killed those who oppressed us before, he changed everything, he made us believe in forgiveness.

but you have a freedom of speech, so you can say what you feel like saying, after all its just politics.

I find it difficult to believe Nelson Mandela never heard of Adolf Hitler or the Khmer Rouge. If thats one of your favorite quotes, you're as severely demented as the Ayatollah.

It is beyond comprehension that anyone could associate Mandela with those dictators and murderers. Mandela was a freedom fighter and fought the equivalent of those same forces in South Africa. There's a bridge named clue and you need to cross it.

Oh, and this quote cited on the anniversary of the unprovoked attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. If the US cared so little, how is it Japan has become one of our strongest allies?

If you actually dug a little deeper than the mainstream revisionist history about war and the USA's role in global conflicts, you'd know that the Pearl Harbor attack was hardly unexpected and unprovoked.

Historian Thomas A. Bailey wrote: "Franklin Roosevelt repeatedly deceived the American people during the period before Pearl Harbor...He was like the physician who must tell the patient lies for the patient's own good."

Beginning in 1940, our leaders were repeatedly warned of a "coming showdown" with the Japanese and eventually even knew the likely target of the attack.

For example, Feb. 5, 1941: Rear Admiral Claude C. Bloch’s December 30, 1940 memorandum leads to much discussion and eventually a letter from Rear Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner to Secretary of War Henry Stimson in which Turner warns, “The security of the U.S. Pacific Fleet while in Pearl Harbor, and of the Pearl Harbor Naval Base itself, has been under renewed study by the Navy Department and forces afloat for the past several weeks…If war eventuates with Japan, it is believed easily possible that hostilities would be initiated by a surprise attack upon the Fleet or the Naval Base at Pearl Harbor…In my opinion, the inherent possibilities of a major disaster to the fleet or naval base warrant taking every step, as rapidly as can be done, that will increase the joint readiness of the Army and Navy to withstand a raid of the character mentioned above.”
Nov. 25, 1941: Secretary of War Henry J. Stimson writes in his diary that, “The President…brought up entirely the relations with the Japanese. He brought up the event that we’re likely to be attacked [as soon as] next Monday for the Japanese are notorious for making an attack without warning.”
Nov. 27, 1941: U.S. Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall issues a memorandum cautioning that “Japanese future action unpredictable but hostile action possible at any moment. If hostilities cannot…be avoided, the United States desires that Japan commit the first overt action.”
Nov. 29, 1941: Secretary of State Cordell Hull, responding to a speech by Japanese General Hideki Tojo one week before the attack, phones FDR at Warm Springs, GA to warn of “the imminent danger of a Japanese attack,” and urge him to return to Washington sooner than planned.

But why did they attack? In a classic struggle between colonial powers, the USA and other western countries had imposed tariffs and embargoes, tantamount to a declaration of war. In fact, one of the judges on the post-war Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal later argued that the U.S. had clearly provoked the war with Japan, calling the embargoes a “clear and potent threat to Japan’s very existence.”

Your question about Japan's postwar friendship with the USA is nonsensical. Of course, they became an economic power and aligned with western capitalist countries, as did West Germany--after all, the Allies won and imposed conditions, NATO was created, the Cold War began, etc. etc. So what's your point?! The fact is, the USA prolonged the Apartheid regime because it served our corporate interests. The Reagan administration, for example, was a major impediment to the ANC's fight for freedom.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela"

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If the US government cared about the world or at least their citizens, this world would be better place. I'm not saying perfect but in fact better. If they were not so focused on trying to control everything not just within the USA, I'm sure the great US of A would be in a much better shape than it is now and the economy and health care system are two things of the many that would have been better. Don't worry my American friends. We are with you all the way through these dark times. But it would be great to see you guys stand up to your dictators like Egypt did a while back! Remember, a whole country is much stronger than a few men in political suits.

The problem is that we have a President that is all about control. He and his party want to dictate (and I use that word correctly) what all of us do and how we live our lives. They want us to be dependent on government for everything, from health care to personal defense, this administration and the Democratic Party is ALL about control. That is why they don't care about the debt, they don't care about letting illegal immigrants get citizenship, they don't care that people aren't working or just don't want to work or care to even look for a job. They want dependency because dependency creates voters for them and keeps them in power. It is easier to just give everything away to people and not ask them to work (or even look for work) because then they have to come to you to make sure they get their government check. Control, control over lives and creation of a dependency culture, THAT is what we have in America today, and when groups do stand up, such as the Tea Party has, the media, who is basically a partner of the administration, does everything they can to make them look as bad as possible. How do you stand up when only a small portion know the truth or even care to look for the truth?

When you have politicians that are more concerned with maintaining their power than standing up for the people, the citizenship loses. Both major parties in the country have so blatantly demonstrated that recently. We're doomed.

I don't think a great, honorable man such a Mandela would like the fact that a shady, deceitful company like Apple is honoring him. That's a slap in the face if I've ever seen one.

Thanks, Rene!!! This was a very nice write-up, and it was nice to learn a little background about you. This is definitely motivation to make a change for the better.

From prisoner, to president in his own lifetime.

An iconic face that will never be forgotten.

Nelson has undoubtely shaped world history, and changed humanity for the better.

He has earned his place among the angels.

Goodbye Nelson.

"One of the greatest leaders of our era, Mandela went from political prisoner to head of state during the course of his lifetime."

Let's not whitewash history Rene, he went from a terrorist, to a prisoner, to a head of state. He ran the MK, which was a terrorist organisation. Facts matter.

Not only that, he had many opportunities to be released from prison if he only did one thing, renounce terrorism. He chose not to.

This is nonsense. Mandela was a freedom fighter against an ruthless enemy that showed no willingness to change or negotiate or respond to nonviolent protest (e.g., the 1960 Sharpville massacre). The ANC started out with a non-violent approach, but conditions were different than in the USA at that time which made the civil rights movement successful here. There was no democracy in South Africa at the time. As in many oppressed countries and preceding many revolutions (including our own in the USA), nonviolence could not work. Calling Mandela a "terrorist" is simply ignorant--if he was, then so was Washington, Jefferson, et al. The (State) terrorists were the South African regime and the USA; in fact, it was the CIA who gave the South African government the information they needed to find and arrest Mandela. We owe the South African a profound apology for our support of Apartheid and turning in Mandela.

What is the difference between a terrorist and a revolutionary? Both use murder and savagery to achieve their political aims. Personally I don't believe murder is ever acceptable. Remember Mandela directly ordered his followers to plant bombs which murdered many women and children - hardly military targets.

He was by every definition possible a terrorist. He also beat his wife, and was a keen supporter of Castro and communism. All of this makes his absurd whitewashing as a saintly figure by world leaders (and the press) so ridiculous and pathetic. The man was a very complex and difficult character, and one responsible for many brutal murders.

As for Jefferson etc, yes, they too were terrorists. No different to the likes of Hamas. Violence is wrong, always.

No, I'm sorry, but there are differences. Context is critical. And Mandela didn't order "murder" and the MK targeted strategic government assets, with a mandate to do so when civilians were not present. Mandela was soon arrested after the militant tactics began. Where is your evidence about "many women and children." Even if some innocents were killed, it was not intentional nor part of a "terrorist" campaign (as it's normally defined) but as a fight against a brutal, murderous regime that, by that time, had outlawed the organizations fighting for change non-violently. Regardless of what was going on in South Africa at that time, war is war and innocents always die--so what's your point?!

Oh, I see, that he might be a communist. Ah, good 'ol red-baiting. Mandela was sympathetic to and worked with communists, but he always denied actually joining. But what if he was?! Most reactionary, right-wing critics always conflate "communism" with Soviet- or Mao-style communism, lumping them all together so as to delegitimize anyone associated with the general Marxist brand of revolutionary ideology. Sorry, but ain't gonna fly this time. Mandela's life and work was complex and reducing it so talking points of his critics or the reactionary right isn't intelligent nor just.

So, no, he was not a terrorist. And he denied ever beating his wife. The position that violence is wrong, always, may be the way of the pacifist, and that's a person's right to believe. However, many lauded freedom fighters of history saw that militant activity or guerrilla warfare was the only route for change against overwhelming force, brutality, and resources.

Would you begrudge Jewish and other resistance fighters in Nazi Germany who bombed Nazi transportation centers, military installations, patrols, or headquarters etc.?! Hamas and other Palestinian fighters such as the old PLO are always demonized even when state terrorism is their foe, such as with the brutal, immoral Israeli apartheid regime.

Simpleminded, false, and exaggerated attacks against heroes like Mandela must stop.

You were born in SA? How did I not know that??!! Come visit :)
Mandela is all over the news at this stage - DSTV even has a channel dedicated to him.
We knew this day would come but it's still a shock :(

Thanks Rene for this post. My favorite quote of Mandiba is "I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear ."

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The world owes a lot to Mandela's courage, sacrifice and ability to forgive. May he rest most deservedly in peace. :-(

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I don't think its a honorable tribute coming from a company who did business with the Apartheid South Africa until 1985, while Mandela was still in jail. All I see is Apple is trying to score cheap points with the image of a very iconic political leader who had nothing to do with Apple or its history and no one shoud applaud this, shame on Apple.