ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – December 11, 2013…….Antigua and Barbuda’s living National Hero Sir Vivian Richards will represent the nation at the Official Funeral of Former President and Father of South Africa Nelson Mandela on December 15.
Sir Vivian Richards who is on broadcast duty in Australia for the Ashes Series, will fly to Qunu in the Eastern Cape for the funeral of the world renowned and revered freedom fighter who passed away on December 5 following a long battle with a lung infection.
In his letter of appointment of Sir. Vivian Richards to attend the funeral on behalf of the people and government of Antigua and Barbuda, Prime Minister Spencer reminded the cricketing hero of his links to Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.
“I am also cognizant of your contribution to building solidarity and support for the ‘Anti-Apartheid’ movement both in Africa and around the world, and your personal sacrifice in honour of the struggles of all South Africans for continued freedom and equal rights. In this regard I am appointing you to head the Antigua and Barbuda delegation to attend the official funeral ceremony for the late Nelson ‘ Madiba’ Mandela, to be held on Sunday 15 December 2013, in South Africa.”
In 1982, Sir Vivian Richards refused an offer of an open cheque to be a part of a West Indies rebel team to tour South Africa during the height of the anti-apartheid era. Of the decision, Sir Vivian Richards recently remarked that, “you (he) felt seriously embodied with the folks who were suffering in South Africa. Human injustice was taking place for so many years.”
Sir Vivian Richards also remarked that his most precious moment off the field of play was meeting Nelson Mandela in 2000 at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Monaco, during which time Nelson Mandela thanked him for his actions in helping to bring an end to apartheid in South Africa.
Sir Vivian Richards is being accompanied to the Funeral Service in South Africa by Antigua and Barbuda’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Dr. Carl Roberts.
Ambassador Colin Murdoch represented Antigua and Barbuda at the Memorial Service for Nelson Mandela on Tuesday 10th December. (Ends)