A Rousing Party for African Hero
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And the attendance patterns kept to Boston traditions: while it was blacks who lined the streets to cheer the motorcade and went to the school function, the crowd of an estimated 221,000 that sat all day on the Esplanade was primarly white. Many were youths who wore African clothing and raised a clenched fist during the singing of the African national anthem.
Musical celebrities dropped everything and came from all over the globe to perform. They included Livingston Taylor, Jackson Browne, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Paul Simon, South Africa's Johnny Clegg and Savuka, Michelle Shocked, and the local rap group Young Nation.
While Mandela's US visit is both a consciousness-raiser and a celebration, it is also is being viewed as a prime fundraising opportunity.
FreeSA is collecting money for the Nelson Mandela Freedom Fund, which needs it to set up offices and a political infrastruture to help bring about democracy in South Africa, as well as provide housing to returning ANC exiles. The fund hopes to raise $8 million from Mandela's tour.
Donations were solicited everywhere: Buckets were passed at the Esplanade concert. The ``Walk for Freedom'' teams, each sponsored by a corporation, were to collect $1,000 per team.
Business leaders held their own fundraiser Saturday night. Requested donations ranged from $5,000 for an individual to $25,000 for a company. A local businessman put up the Mandelas and their entourage for free in one of the hotels.
Mandela warmed to the welcome.
He said he regarded Massachusetts as the struggle's ``second home.'' In 1983, Massachusetts withdrew its pension fund investments from companies doing business with South Africa. There is a bill pending that would bar state agencies from buying goods from these companies.
Speaking briefly on the front steps of the First Church of Christ Scientist, Boston, to a small group of Monitor editors Sunday morning, Mr. Mandela thanked Bostonians for the ``warmth and love'' he received while here. He also praised the ``publications and the press, which do their work in a way that give hope and confidence in the future.''