It was November 14, 2001 and I was sitting in Row 10, Seat X in the Cole Field House at the University of Maryland. That was Nelson Mandela’s first trip to the United States after the attacks of September 11th. I still remember that speech. He had accidentally skipped a page during his speech and started giggling like a school boy, asking us to kindly forgive “this old bear.” We obliged, of course.
At 95, he has passed away and so, hopefully, will apartheid. The UN Secretary General addressed the UN press corps minutes ago saying “he was a giant for justice” but still so down to earth. After the Secretary General had thanked him for a lifetime of work, Mandela said “it was not just me.”
Here are some tweets I thought captured the feeling:
And on that fateful February 2,1990 when de Klerk of South Africa agreed to free the one who fought for everyone’s freedom…here is Madiba and his wife Winnie upon his release from jail February 11, 1990: