I was only the second black Editor of the Cape Times, after Moegsien Williams, who had become the Editor of the Cape Argus. In 1999 Moegsien and I decided to invite President Mandela to visit the home of the Cape Times and the Cape Argus, Newspaper House in St Georges Mall, Cape Town.
We extended the invitation because there was a perception in government about negativity within the media towards the government. We were quite surprised when he accepted our invitation.
We tried to keep Madiba’s visit as quiet as possible, but obviously, in the newspaper industry, news spreads very quickly. On the day of the visit, most of the women at Newspaper House had had their hair done especially and were wearing special outfits.
Madiba spent a few hours with us, moving from department to department, including a visit to our printing presses.
When it was time for him to leave, we went to the entrance in St Georges Mall, where a huge crowd had gathered. Word had obviously gotten out that Madiba was in our building.
His protectors had created a barrier for people to stand behind and had pulled his car right in front of Newspaper House. They told the President that he needed to get into the car immediately after we got outside.
Of course, when Madiba saw all the people, he immediately made a beeline for the barrier, to shake hands and greet everyone with his customary,“Hello, how are you? So good to see you.” I could literally see the bodyguards pulling out their hair.
This picture, capturing part of a special occasion with Madiba, was taken as we exited Newspaper House after his visit and he greeted the crowds in St Georges Mall.
Quote: "We were quite surprised when he accepted our invitation."