1990 - 2010

My moment with a LEGEND

Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory

A Benny Gool Initiative

Video Overview of My Moments with a Legend

As an international icon Nelson Mandela has been sought out by the world’s rich and famous and he has been surrounded by celebrity. But the mantle of celebrity has never sat well on him, and he has worked hard at making himself accessible to ‘ordinary people’. He is never more comfortable than when he can escape the trappings of formality and relate to people on a person-to-person basis. For many, meeting him in this context has provided the experience of a lifetime.

"His example taught me to never give up and never regard myself too highly above others."
"...makes us feel that we are an integral part of making our own history together."
"To be his friend and be given such opportunities to share key parts of his experience is something I can never thank him for enough."
"The President sang ‘Twinkle Twinkle little star’. The children were in awe that the President could do this."
"Evita! Evita! You look so beautiful!"
"I felt like I was going to die! I was so excited."
"It was a very special moment, reflecting also the friendship which had developed between two former opponents."
"… I knew that he listened to us and took us seriously."
"… he wanted to hear directly from the communities involved…"
"Dr Mandela responded to my letter in his own handwriting."
"He is a personal hero of mine."
"It certainly added to the satisfaction of developing such a special plant."
"Do not call for Mandela, rather shout for compassion"
"Madiba makes me feel special – as if my presiding over the proceedings was the reason why the CA had completed its work."
"Presidential Smooch."
"...and whilst he was talking I was crying."
"He looked me straight into the eye and in an instant placed me – ‘How is Vredendal?’ he asked."
"Shortly after that the policing manpower plan changed dramatically and the Western Cape also got better resources."
"It is a lesson I have never forgotten."
"...He stayed much longer than I had expected ..."
"During the commemorative activities, President Mandela unveiled the Biko Statue in Oxford Street, East London."
"It was almost like a father feeling the pain of his people and coming to say, ‘It’s okay’."
"I don’t remember much about the first time I met Madiba, only his smile and the smiles of everyone else when they were around him."
"This picture was taken on the day Trevor presented his first Budget Speech in 1997."
"Later that afternoon I played in a music exam and got a distinction."
"As the meeting drew to a close there wasn’t a dry eye in the room..."
"I felt a gentle hand on my shoulder and a voice..."
"We were quite surprised when he accepted our invitation."
"I will forever cherish the moment and always remember the thick and warm hand-shake of the President Mandela."
"This moment left an indelible memory in Genadendal."
"When Madiba got out of the car, he went straight to the man in dirty overalls. 'How are you?'"
"Such was the humility and availability of Mr Mandela to all his comrades young and old junior and senior."
"... it was my first visit to Tuynhuys, an occasion made more memorable that my first visit was as a driver."
"I decided to use body language to communicate to him that I would like to hug and kiss him."
"He then proceeded to start doing the 'Madiba Jive' while I was singing!!! What a treat!!! Boy, can he jive!!"
"Mr Mandela had to put the last brick in it to complete the flag..."
"You could brief him on the operational plan and sometimes it would go according to script."
"... for the first time in the history of this country an oral traditional praise poet was asked to recite in a place dripping with parliamentary protocols..."
" …he replied that it’s an honour to meet me!"
"What Mandela always conveyed was a sense of humbleness."
"God if I die now, I won’t mind!"
"I was taken totally by surprise when he presented himself before me to receive the Sacrament..."
"What a wonderful occasion that was!"
"He was utterly gracious, charming and cooperative."
"When it came to my turn to address Madiba, I could not contradict the him by calling for the resignation of one of his 'most respected cabinet ministers'."
"… I would see Madiba that day – even if they had to push me in a wheelchair…"
"(He) answered in a firm but polite way."
"… he immediately connected with the people, even those from other parties who were opposing his visit."
Credits: Story

Photography & Video — Benny Gool & Oryx Media
Research & Curation — Benny Gool & Oryx Media

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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