Tag Archives: nelson mandela

The Trees of Rideau Hall

When Prince William and his wife Kate visited Canada in 2011 they planted a hemlock tree on the grounds of Rideau Hall, the home of Canada’s Governor-General in Ottawa. It is a tradition that when someone famous visits Rideau Hall they plant a tree.  On our visit to Ottawa, we took a tour of Rideau Hall and the park surrounding it and I made some notes about the trees I saw.

There are 150 trees planted by famous visitors on the Rideau Hall grounds.  Many of the trees have grown large and their boughs stretch wide and high.

One thing I noticed was many of the people who planted the trees at Rideau Hall had made a positive difference in our world. 

There is a brass marker at the base of each tree telling you who planted it, when it was planted, as well as what kind of tree it is.

I saw a sugar maple planted by Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first democratically elected president. The anti-apartheid activist spent twenty- seven years in prison and became a worldwide symbol of hope to those fighting for freedom and equality.

Diana, Princess of Wales has a tree in Rideau Hall Park. This popular British royal used her notoriety to draw the attention of the world to the needs of people with AIDS and the victims of land mines.

In July of 2011, when William her son and his wife Kate visited Rideau Hall, they stopped for a few moments of silence beside the tree Diana had planted, just after planting their own tree.  Following in the footsteps of Diana’s dedication to public service the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have established a foundation that promotes mental health and wellness.  

John F. Kennedy planted a flourishing red oak tree. Kennedy inspired the establishment of the United States Peace Corps. The organization has sent 200,000 volunteers to 140 countries to help those in need.

When Kofi Annan visited Canada Adrienne Clarkson was the Governor-General living at Rideau Hall.

There’s a tree planted by  Kofi Annan of Ghana, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations.  He won the Nobel Prize for his efforts to bring peace to conflicts in Iraq, Yugoslavia, Nigeria, Libya, East Timor and the Middle East.

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko greet Governor General Michaelle Jean at Rideau Hall before planting their tree

Japan’s Emperor Akihito has a tree at Rideau Hall. In 2011 after a tsunami devastated his country he did something no Japanese royal has ever done before. He made a live television appearance to talk to his people to reassure them and give them hope and then he and his wife visited shelters for storm refugees. 

Many of the famous people who have planted trees at Rideau Hall have used their lives to serve others, and make a difference in the world. 

 Other posts……..

The Beginning And End of Life

I Sat in The Speaker’s Chair

Canada A Country For All Seasons

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Getting Involved at the Human Rights Museum

 

me and nelson mandelaOne of the things I really liked about the Nelson Mandela display at the Canadian Human Rights Museum in Winnipeg is the way it provides the visitor with a variety of experiences to draw you into the story of the fight to end apartheid in South Africa.

south africa park benchYou can sit on a park bench clearly labeled For Europeans Only and read information about what it was like for a black woman to work as a domestic servant or a black man to be a miner in Johannesburg. Photos show how they were given unsanitary cramped living quarters and made to wear an identification bracelet with a number assigned by their employer.

mandela cellYou can stand in a cell like the one where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for twenty- seven years. As silhouettes of Nelson appear on the walls you almost feel like you are with him on Robben Island where he was imprisoned because of his activism and leadership in the anti-apartheid movement.

interview room mandela exhibitYou can sit on chairs in a secret hideout and watch Nelson Mandela do a television interview with a British journalist at 2:00 am in 1961. nelson mandela interviewMandela had gone underground after been convicted of treason for his peaceful protests against apartheid.

apartheid postersYou can make a poster.  A display features a whole variety of posters that helped to advance the ideals of the anti-apartheid movement. posterOn an interactive board you can choose from many different options to create a background, wording and illustrations and create an anti-apartheid poster of your very own. If you take a photo you could even print up your poster at home.

mailbox mandela exhibitYou can write a letter.  As you leave the display you watch young South Africans share their hopes and dreams for the future of their country.  After being inspired by what Nelson Mandela did to bring about change in his community you have the opportunity to write a letter saying what you will do to change your community for the better. Letter writing paper, felt markers and even colorful envelopes are available and once you have written your message you can either keep it or ‘mail’ it to the world in the mail slot provided.

letterThe Nelson Mandela exhibit is informative and thought-provoking and provides opportunity for hands on involvement.  Since experiencing the exhibit I’ve been thinking a lot about how the South African colonizers knew ending apartheid would also end their comfortable and successful way of life. Their story reminds us that people are always susceptible to following their basest instincts of self-survival and self- promotion even if that damages others and is not fair or ethical.  Sadly it is still a timely message in our present day.

Other posts……..

Images of Apartheid

An Inspiration

Not the Harlem I Expected

 

 

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The Long Wait and Forgiveness- Nelson and Philomena

It may seem strange to compare perhaps the greatest political figure of our time with a retired nurse from Ireland, but last week I watched both the memorial services for Nelson Mandela and the movie Philomena which tells the true story of Philomena Lee.  I’ve been thinking about two things Philomena and Nelson had  in common.  They both had to wait a long time to realize their heart’s desire and they both practiced forgiveness. 

Nelson Mandela waited in prison for 27 years before he was granted an unconditional release that allowed him to be a part of the negotiations to end apartheid and become the first democratically elected president of South Africa.  

Philomena Lee waited 50 years before launching a search to find her illegitimate son who had been sold to an American family by the order of nuns Philomena worked for as a laundress. Although her son, who became a legal advisor to two American presidents had died, she was able to find out that he had desperately wanted to find her. She had prayed for him every day for 50 years. Philomena decided to share her story with the public so other biological parents and children might have a chance to be reunited. 

Nelson Mandela refused to be bitter. He forgave the people who had imprisoned him.

Philomena also refused to be bitter. She forgave the nuns who sold her baby and refused to hate them even when she found out they had deliberately withheld information from her that would have allowed her to find her son before he died. 

Patience and forgiveness. Valuable lessons from a Nobel Peace Prize winner and a loyal mother. 

Other posts about forgiveness……..

Landmines Museum Visit

Lessons From the Sydney Opera House

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Filed under History, Movies, Politics, Religion

Bearing Fruit- The Trees of Rideau Hall

When Prince William and his wife Kate visited Canada in July they planted a hemlock tree on the grounds of Rideau Hall, the home of Canada’s Governor-General in Ottawa. It is a tradition that when someone famous visits Rideau Hall they plant a tree. When we went to Ottawa several years ago we took a tour of Rideau Hall and the park surrounding it and I made notes about some of the trees I saw. 

There are 120 trees planted by famous visitors on the Rideau Hall grounds.  Many of the trees have grown large and their boughs stretch wide and high.

The people who planted the trees at Rideau Hall are far from perfect, but God has used many of them to bear fruit with their lives and make a positive difference in the world.

There is a brass marker at the base of each tree telling you who planted it, when it was planted, as well as what kind of tree it is. 

I saw a sugar maple planted by Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first democratically elected president. This  anti-apartheid activist spent twenty- seven years in prison and became a worldwide symbol of hope to those fighting for freedom and equality.

Diana, Princess of Wales has a tree in Rideau Hall Park. This popular British royal used her notoriety to draw the attention of the world to the needs of people with AIDS and the victims of land mines. In July of 2011, when William her son and his wife Kate visited Rideau Hall, they stopped for a few moments of silence beside the tree Diana had planted, just after planting their own tree. 

John F. Kennedy planted a flourishing red oak tree. Kennedy inspired the establishment of the United States Peace Corps. The organization has sent 200,000 volunteers to 140 countries to help those in need.

There’s a tree planted by  Kofi Annan of Ghana, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations.  He won the Nobel Prize for his efforts to bring peace to conflicts in Iraq, Yugoslavia, Nigeria, Libya, East Timor and the Middle East.

Japan’s Emperor Akihito has a tree at Rideau Hall. In 2011 after a tsunami devastated his country he did something no Japanese royal has ever done before. He made a live television appearance to talk to his people to reassure them and give them hope and then he and his wife visited a shelter for storm refugees. 

Many of the famous men and women who have planted trees at Rideau Hall have used their lives to bear fruit, serve others, and make a difference in the world. 

There is an updated version of this post here.

 

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Filed under Canada, History, Nature, People, Reflections