The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Freedom or freedoom? Spelling off course on Mandela T-shirts worn by Johannesburg cyclists

  • Print

JOHANNESBURG - Nelson Mandela had a way with words, but not quite like this.

Cyclists traversing Johannesburg in the former South African president's honour on Sunday wore T-shirts with one of his many inspiring quotations, along with a glaring typographical error in the word "freedom."

The T-shirt read: "The purpose of freedoom is to create it for others."

Some 5,000 T-shirts with the typo were made for the 35-kilometre (22-mile) "Freedom Ride," which passed landmarks in downtown Johannesburg and the city's Soweto area, organizer Hugh Fraser said Tuesday. The spelling mistake was "a bit of a PR hiccup" but the cycling event was otherwise a success, drawing 8,000 riders, Fraser said.

The ride came two days after the July 18 birthday of Mandela, who died in December at the age of 95. The goal is to promote commuter cycling and to connect communities in Johannesburg, a city that was divided into wealthy white suburbs and poor black townships during white minority rule, which ended in 1994.

The ride passed the Nelson Mandela Bridge, which was completed in 2003 amid efforts to revive the dilapidated downtown area; a cemetery where anti-apartheid activists are buried; and Soweto's Vilakazi Street, where Mandela and Desmond Tutu, a former archbishop and fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate, had lived.

In an email to organizers, rider Valli Moosa said it was "the most multi-racial ride I have been on."

The quotation on the cyclists' T-shirts is from Mandela's prison desk calendar, and was written on June 2, 1979 while he was on Robben Island, where the anti-apartheid leader was held for part of his 27 years of incarceration during apartheid. He was released in 1990 and became president in South Africa's first all-race elections in 1994.

Most people took the spelling error with a "pinch of salt" and laughed, Fraser said. He speculated that Mandela would have done the same.

"He had a great sense of humour," Fraser said. "He would understand."

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Lindor Reynolds speaks candidly about life with terminal cancer

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS June 23, 2011 Local - A Monarch butterfly is perched on a flower  in the newly opened Butterfly Garden in Assiniboine Park Thursday morning.
  • Goslings with some size head for cover Wednesday afternoon on Commerce Drive in Tuxedo Business Park - See Bryksa 30 Goose Challenge- Day 12- May 16, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who will you vote for in Wednesday's mayoral race?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google