November 29, 2014 08:28 UTC

As It Is

New Center in South Africa Honors Nelson Mandela

Former South African President Nelson Mandela is honored by a new Centre of Memory in Johannesburg.
Former South African President Nelson Mandela is honored by a new Centre of Memory in Johannesburg.

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story

From VOA Learning English, welcome to As It Is. I’m Steve Ember.
 
Today on our program we travel to Africa. 
 
Our first stop is South Africa. We have a report on a new center set up to honor former president Nelson Mandela.
 
Then we turn to Zimbabwe to examine that nation’s health-care system.
 
[From a “Peanuts” television program]
Lucy: “Do you think I’m beautiful, Charlie Brown? You didn’t answer right away. You had to think about it, didn’t you? If you really thought I was beautiful, you would have spoken right up. I know when I’ve been insulted.”
Charlie: “Good Grief!”
 
And finally – Oh good grief, Charlie Brown! – we remember the   creator of the popular “Peanuts” comic strip, Charles Schulz. He was born on this date.
                                          
But first, we hear about a new center – and a movie – about South Africa’s Nelson Mandela.
 
From Left: Mandla Mandela, grandson of former president Nelson Mandela, Graca Machel, wife of Mandela, and president Jacob Zuma attend the opening of the revamped Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Johannesburg, Nov. 18, 2013.From Left: Mandla Mandela, grandson of former president Nelson Mandela, Graca Machel, wife of Mandela, and president Jacob Zuma attend the opening of the revamped Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Johannesburg, Nov. 18, 2013.
x
From Left: Mandla Mandela, grandson of former president Nelson Mandela, Graca Machel, wife of Mandela, and president Jacob Zuma attend the opening of the revamped Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Johannesburg, Nov. 18, 2013.
From Left: Mandla Mandela, grandson of former president Nelson Mandela, Graca Machel, wife of Mandela, and president Jacob Zuma attend the opening of the revamped Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Johannesburg, Nov. 18, 2013.
Officials in that country have opened the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Johannesburg. The opening took place just a few days before the first South African showing of a Hollywood movie based on Mr. Mandela’s life.
 
The former president is 95 years old and suffering from health problems. But officials say he has much to teach the nation, and the world.
 
The Nelson Mandela Foundation invited many well-known South Africans to the new exhibit of Mr. Mandela’s life. President Jacob Zuma, for example, praised the man whose struggles ended white, minority rule in the country. Mr. Mandela was the country’s first black president in 1994. 
 
The airy, modern new space presents many artifacts, from official documents to personal belongings. Pictures show Mr. Mandela at different periods in his life – from a schoolboy to a young lawyer, from a longtime prisoner to president. 
                                                                    
Visitors may also learn a few new personal details of a man about whom so much has been written.
 
Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison. Visitors will see a copy of his extremely well organized office and read letters in his handwriting. They can look at his Nobel Peace Prize. Mr. Mandela won the prize in 1993 for his part in ending  South Africa’s official system of racial separation.  
                         
But perhaps the most interesting objects are kept underground at the center. Thousands of documents written by and about Mr. Mandela and his leadership are kept there. Researchers are working continually to save these papers and include them in the historical records.
                                 
At the opening ceremony for the center, Mr. Mandela’s grandson Mandla praised the effort. He said seeing his grandfather’s work meant a lot to him and the family.
 
“For me, in person, my grandfather has always been the magnet, the unifying factor of around us as a family. And it is one thing for me that today, we see people from all walks of life unifying, coming together in his honor, in the realization of his legacy.”
                                          
President Zuma praised the man whom he looked up to when he, Mr. Zuma, was entering politics. Several pictures of Mr. Mandela also show a young Mr. Zuma. 
                                          
President Zuma said Nelson Mandela taught his nation a valuable lesson. Like many South Africans, the president called Mr. Mandela “Madiba.”
 
“It was Tata Madiba who led us in the important program of reconciliation and reaching out to one another. It is from him and his generation that we were reminded once more that what unites us far outweigh that which divides us; that humanity is one and that our destiny is linked.” 
                         
Sello Hatang directs the Centre of Memory. He says he hopes the center and the movie will show Mr. Mandela as a man of complexity. He hopes that the movie will, in his words, “at least open other windows into the life and times of Nelson Mandela.”
 
As It Is is coming to you from VOA Learning English. I’m Steve Ember.
 
Concern grows over health care in Zimbabwe…         
 
And now to the nearby country of Zimbabwe for a look at its health care system. The Health Transitional Fund has greatly improved the health care system in Zimbabwe since 2009. The fund depends on donations from Western countries, including those of the European Union. Recently, EU officials warned that donors might cut back on financing if Zimbabwe does not provide more money to its health care system. Bob Doughty has more on the story.                                                                  
 
Health care in Zimbabwe was deeply affected at the height of the country’s economic collapse. As recently as four years ago, some babies were born without medical attention.
 
Yet today, the health care system is still facing problems. They include use of old equipment, lack of needed drugs, high cost services and not enough health care workers, especially experts.
 
But a top government doctor notes many changes since Western countries established the Health Transitional Fund, the HTF, to improve the public health system. Dr. Kudzai Masinire says that since the HTF was created, most health centers are now offering many life-saving drugs that formerly were not available. He says the HTF has also been able to keep health professionals working across the country.
                                                  
Earlier, a number of doctors and nurses objected to poor working conditions. They left Zimbabwe for countries like Great Britain and New Zealand in hopes of finding better jobs.
 
Since 2009, Western countries have provided more than 500 million dollars. But now, the question is, will the West keep paying for Zimbabwe’s health system? The current budget of 380 million dollars is not enough to keep the health care industry operating on its own. Concern about health care is growing.  I’m Bob Doughty.
 
[Vince Guaraldi Trio plays “Linus and Lucy” theme from “Peanuts”]
 
It’s As It Is from VOA Learning English. I’m Steve Ember.
 
Charles Schulz in 1956 with his "Peanuts" creation, Charlie BrownCharles Schulz in 1956 with his "Peanuts" creation, Charlie Brown
x
Charles Schulz in 1956 with his "Peanuts" creation, Charlie Brown
Charles Schulz in 1956 with his "Peanuts" creation, Charlie Brown
And now, we remember American cartoonist Charles Schulz. He was born on November 26th, 1922. He died in 2000.
                                           
Charles Schulz created the much loved comic strip “Peanuts,” which first appeared in newspapers in 1950. His gentle comic strip told the story of a boy named Charlie Brown, his sister Sally, their dog Snoopy, and friends Linus and Lucy.
 
[From a “Peanuts” television special]
Lucy: “Aren’t the clouds beautiful? They look like big balls of cotton. I can just lie here all day and watch them drift by…”
 
Schulz won many honors for his work, including the Reuben Award in 1955 and again in 1964. The awards came from the National Cartoonists Society. He also was named International Cartoonist of the Year in 1978
 
Lucy: “What do you see in the clouds, Charlie Brown?”
Charlie: “Well…I was going to say I saw a duckie and a horsie, but I changed my mind.”
 
As It Is is a production of VOA Learning English. I’m Steve Ember. Thanks for joining us. See you next time.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Learn with The News

  • Ferguson Protest

    Video After Protests, Ferguson Looks for Answers

    On Monday, protesters burned buildings and police cars and destroyed businesses in the Midwestern U.S. city of Ferguson, Missouri. Their actions followed the announcement that a grand jury had decided not to send a white police officer to trial for shooting and killing an unarmed black teen. More

  • Video US Evangelicals Debate Homosexuality in the Bible

    An increasing number of mainline Christian groups are also accepting same-sex unions. But most evangelical Christians say the Bible condemns sexual relations among people of the same sex. Now, a well-known student of evangelicalism is saying that the traditional reading of the Bible is wrong. More

  • An oil derrick is seen at a fracking site for extracting oil outside of Williston, North Dakota March 11, 2013.  North Dakota's booming oil business has quickly ran up against a serious shortage of housing for the thousands of workers who have poured into

    Audio Falling Oil Prices Affect Nations Differently

    Oil prices have dropped 30 percent since June. Increased American oil production is one reason for the drop in world oil prices. Nigeria has announced measures the government would take to increase income. But, in India the lower oil prices have helped ease inflation. More

  • Audio North Korea Warns of Punishment for US, Allies

    North Korea said it would punish countries that supported a UN resolution condemning North Korea's human rights record. The recent U.N. committee vote called on the Security Council to send North Korea to the International Criminal Court for suspected violations, including torture and murder. More

  • A Libyan military soldier fires his weapon during clashes with Islamic extremist militias in Benghazi, Libya, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. Government troops entered central Benghazi Wednesday after nearly 10 days of fighting Islamic extremist militias, a mili

    Audio Unrest, Abuse Prevent Solution in Libya

    Amnesty International is condemning all sides in Libya for human rights abuses and violations of international law. The rights group is calling on militia commanders to end the abuses. But that call is unlikely to have much of an effect on the commanders, who have never been punished. More

Featured Stories

  • Hunger Games: Mockingjay

    Video 'Hunger Games' Expected to Top Holiday Ticket Sales

    'Mockingjay - Part 1' is the third in the four part movie series. It earned about $123 million in its opening weekend. Not bad, but millions less than tickets sales in the release weekend of the first two 'Hunger Games' films. What explains the drop in audience interest? More

  • Battle of Cold Harbor

    Audio Strong Defense at Cold Harbor Gives Lee His Last Major Victory

    After Northern forces defeated Southern troops at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and Vicksburg, Mississippi, General Ulysses Grant decided to hit the Confederates with the full force of the Union armies. The fight did not go as he expected. But General Grant was resolved to defeat the Confederates. More

  • Alzheimer brain

    Audio East Meets West to Treat Alzheimer's Patients

    But researchers in California say a new way of treating Alzheimer’s disease is showing promise for reversing some of that memory loss. The new treatment combines western medicine with eastern philosophy – ideas rooted in Asian religions. More

  • Mr. Van Rijsselberghe worked on the project with scientists from the Free University of Amsterdam.

    Video Dutch Experiment Grows Vegetables in Sea Water

    Due to rising sea level, farmers are increasingly unable to use fields close to the sea. A farmer in the Netherlands is growing small, but healthy and tasty crops in a mixture of fresh and salt water. Farmers in Pakistan may soon be growing Dutch potatoes in areas affected by rising sea waters. More

  • Jonathan Evans Performs with Bonerama

    Video With Bonerama, Three Trombones Lead the Big Parade

    The New Orleans-based group brings together funk, rock, blues and jazz, creating a gumbo for the ears. Bonerama has horns like many bands. But, unlike most groups, the trombone players lead this band. Reporter Jonathan Evans performed with the band and wrote about it for American Mosaic. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs