Whitney Houston: Nelson Mandela Pays Tribute To Star

Nelson Mandela with Whitney Houston in 1994.

Nelson Mandela has paid tribute to Whitney Houston, the American singer and actress who died in her Los Angeles hotel room at the weekend.
The former South African president, speaking through his eponymous foundation, extended his “deepest condolences” to the family and friends of Miss Houston, 48.
The Bodyguard star was a staunch supporter of the fight against apartheid and refused to work with any agencies who did business with pre-democratic South Africa during her modelling days.
She was one of the headline acts at the 1988 London concert to celebrate Mr Mandela’s 70th birthday while he was still in prison, and in October 1994, met the iconic statesman once he had become president at a dinner hosted by Bill Clinton at the White House.
Before singing for guests in the Rose Garden, she told them: “This performance is very special to me because in 1988 I sang in honour of Nelson Mandela the inmate and tonight I sing for elected president, Nelson Mandela.”
The following month, she travelled to South Africa where she performed in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg in the Concert for a New South Africa.
Proceeds from the concert were donated to South African children’s charities.
On meeting Houston again in Johannesburg, Mr Mandela famously said he was there “merely to polish her shoes … we love her so much.”
Footage of the meeting shows the singer and actress put her head on Mr Mandela’s shoulder and start to cry. He then produced a handkerchief and used it to tenderly wipe away her tears.
The Grammy-award winning star, who has battled with drug addictions, was found dead in the bath of her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Saturday shortly before she had been due to attend a party there ahead of the Grammy awards ceremony. According to reports, prescription drugs were found nearby.
Sello Hatang, a spokesman for the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, said in a statement: “Ms Houston sang for Mr Nelson Mandela at a White House dinner in his honour in October 1994. She dedicated to him her rendition of the song Greatest Love of all. May she rest in peace.”
Other South African musicians took to Twitter to express their sadness at her death.
Zonke Dikana, who is enjoying the success of her 2011 release Ina Ethe, wrote: “Growing up, I wanted to sing just like Whitney Houston till I found my own voice. She’s the reason I’m a singer today … I’m not sure what musical direction I would have taken had I not obsessed over her voice as a kid.”
Man Made Moon singer Lindiwe Suttle, who is due to perform at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, said: “Devastated with the news that the 1st woman 2 touch my soul w/ her voice is gone. Every lil Blk girl wanted 2 b her. I did.”
Simphiwe Dana, a jazz singer hailed by some as “the new Miriam Makeba”, wrote: “God has called a beloved to her bosom. RIP WhitneyHouston. You never belonged here but amongst the stars.”



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