Tuesday, July 19

World's Greatest Living Icon

Yesterday Nelson Mandela turned 87.

I have a personal story to tell about Mandela. Back in the 90's I was a member of the Anti-Apartheid movement in Sydney. When Mandela came to Sydney after his release from prison (and who can forget the images being played live the night he walked out of Robben Island prison), I was invited to a special meeting to be held in the crypt of St. Mary's Cathedral. I cannot remember so much about what was said that day, but what I do remember is Mandela's presence.

He was brilliant. He is much taller than you imagine, and back then he stood before us so dignified, so humble - I had tears in my eyes the entire time. I was standing only 2 metres from him when he addressed us, thanked us, spoke wise words of wisdom to us, and then we all sang the now National Anthem of South Africa. The acoustics in the crypt only added to the beauty of this event. I had eye contact with him several times. And then it was all over. Everyone stood in 2 rows and he walked between us shaking hands as he passed. Unfortunately he turned the other way when he came to me. I was crushed. I couldn't believe I wouldn't have my own moment with him. I needed more. So I ran to the end of the line, and stood and waited. And I shook hands with the great man and told him he was wonderful. He laughed and then it was over. I was on a huge high for weeks after that. This is still one of the most memorable and significant experiences of my life.

Happy Birthday Mr. Nelson Mandela!


Blogger ♥ joleen ♥ said...

That is so incredibly awesome. What a memory!

3:36 am  
Anonymous kimbofo said...

Wow! That's a truly great story. And one to tell the grandchildren!

6:10 am  

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