No, no, no insisted my inner “We Love Madiba” voice. You can’t say anything slightly negative about this wonderful man. Particularly now, when this icon is in such poor health.
However, the reality is that Nelson Mandela was seen in a fur hat, albeit a long time ago (late 1990s). This fur hat was given to former President Mandela, when he and his foreign affairs minister Alfred Nzo were in Stockholm on a State visit. The temperature during Mandela’s Scandinavian tour was around 0 degrees Celsius or less. Given this set of facts do you think it was acceptable that he wore his present of a fur hat? While wearing fur is never acceptable I think that in this situation it was OKish for Mandela to wear this gift.
While on the topic of Nelson Mandela I would like to share my family’s connection with him. If you look in Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela, chapter 5 there is reference to Reverend C.C. Harris. Well, Reverend Harris is my grandfather. This is a photograph of him in his dog collar, which is fortunately not made out of dog fur.
As an adolescent Rolihlahla, which was Mandela’s original name, attended Clarkebury a Wesleyan missionary school. At that time Clarkebury was the biggest education centre in Tembuland and was considered the highest institution of learning for Africans in Thembuland. The name Nelson was given to Rolihlahla, as the missionaries could not pronounce the name Rolihlahla (I blush with embarrassment).
According to Mandela , my grandfather Reverend Harris ran the school “…with an iron hand and an abiding sense of fairness”. You just need to look at the photo to understand the iron fist bit. It is also reported that Reverend Harris, was the first white man Mandela ever shook hands with. Little did either of them know what a great leader Nelson Mandela would become and how much Mandela would sacrifice to change South Africa.
It is a totally different scenario with Queen Elizabeth II, who just happened to be the eldest child of King George VI. Anyway I will keep my anti-royalist sentiments to myself and focus on the queen’s fondness for fur items. As with the Pope, the Queen’s official robes for special occasions are trimmed with ermine. This is tradition, many would say! But what about the mink scarf and fox hat and mitts? This is entirely the queen’s choice and animal rights folk, including myself, would say that this is unacceptable in this day and age. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1341860/Queen-Duchess-York-accused-ostentatious-cruelty-fur-hats.html#ixzz2bw9LbMlm
It is also traditional for the Pope to wear fur. Pope Benedict XVI wore a red velvet hat trimmed with white ermine fur. This type of hat was commonly worn by popes in the medieval period to keep their heads warm during winter. For special occasions a red velvet , ermine-trimmed cape called a mozetta was worn. Pope Benedict wore this type of cloak.
Millions of ermine are bred and farmed under horrendous conditions just to be a fur trim. This is cruel and unnecessary.
Please sign this petition asking the new Pope to stop wearing fur: http://www.petitiononline.com/FauxFur/petition.html
This plea might be taken seriously by Pope Francis who is named after the patron saint of animals. In the name of humility it seems that “ Solid gold rings, velvet capes and ermine furs are out”, as Pope Francis has shunned Vatican tradition in favour of a simpler life style. See link: http://www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/style/fashion/pope-francis-shakes-up-vatican-fashion-1.1488818#.UguSpZJgeVJ. Pope Francis also publicly patted a guide dog, which is not considered ceremonial in the Vatican.
Leadership cannot just go along to get along. Leadership must meet the moral challenge of the day. —Jesse Jackson
Wearing fur in this day and age is immoral and the banning all fur is one of the challenges of the day.