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Congresswoman Waters Joins Official Congressional Delegation to Attend Nelson Mandela's Memorial Service

December 9, 2013
Press Release

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43) joined a Congressional Delegation to Johannesburg, South Africa to attend a memorial service for her friend and extraordinary leader, President Nelson Mandela. The delegation departed this morning from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland to attend Tuesday's service at Johannesburg's FNB Stadium.
"I am honored to be a part of the official delegation that will represent the United States to communicate the American people's prayers and condolences to President Mandela's family and the South African people," said Congresswoman Waters. "This memorial service will give my colleagues and I, as well as people around the world, an opportunity to pay final respects to one of the greatest icons that ever lived."
Congresswoman Waters was a longtime leader in the fight to end apartheid in South Africa. In 1986, as a member of the California Assembly, then Assemblywoman Waters called for the divestment of funds from businesses doing business with South Africa and helped to make the call for divestment a national movement sweeping from state to state and city to city. She did this by authoring Assembly Bill 134 to divest a record $12 billion from public pension funds in California, thus fortifying California's opposition to the apartheid regime. The divestment movement grew and at one point, there were over 40 state legislatures that were considering a divestment bill.

Waters organized marches and rallies at colleges and universities across the country. In Los Angeles, she joined with other leaders to protest apartheid, including an overnight sit-in at the South African consular office. She put her own freedom on the line when she was arrested for protesting the apartheid regime in front of the South African Consulate in Washington, D.C.
In 1990, Waters chaired the committee which welcomed Nelson and Winnie Mandela to Los Angeles by hosting a six-hour rally and concert that filled the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to capacity. A month later, she was elected to Congress and served as a member of the official U.S. delegation to witness the historic swearing-in ceremony for Nelson Mandela as the President of South Africa. Congresswoman Waters welcomed President Mandela to the United States again in 1998 for his Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony.