A section of Pretoria station was in a terrific buzz on a Friday morning in September 1997. Traditional musicians and dancers were welcoming passengers of the New-Blue Train. SSQ was to serenade President Mandela and the First Lady as they cut the ribbon and launched the train. I was overwhelmed with the joy when one of the bodyguards called us to take a photo with the president and his wife. I will forever cherish the moment and always remember the thick and warm hand-shake of President Mandela.
An opportunity arose for Soweto String Quartet to perform at the launch of the Blue Train in Pretoria Station in September 1997. President Mandela and his wife, Graca, were the officials in the ceremony. The moment was so electrifying when I had to stretch out my arm to shake the legend’s hand. It brought fulfilment and happiness to my heart. This could only mean we were going forward because this is the man that we’ve put all our hopes to deliver us from the evils of apartheid. I will always cherish this moment.
This was the day many would only dream of. This was the day in the far distance the day that would in my thoughts forever. The day had truly come for us to ultimately realise our long-time dream. The day that would see us touch and shake the hand of our father, our icon and our leader. The moment of truth and total fulfilment had finally dawned upon us to experience being with Madiba and entertaining him with our music, which he so loved. He showed how sharp his memory is because he called each member of the Quartet by name. I was truly stunned and felt the love he has for all South Africans was in his blood. I felt so proud to have lived in his time. VIVA!
Quote: "I will forever cherish the moment and always remember the thick and warm handshake of President Mandela."