Desmond Stevens - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
Welcome to the Nelson Mandela Digital Archive Project. Our aim is to locate, document, digitise, and provide access to all archival materials related to Nelson Mandela. This is a work in progress. Here is a selection of materials arranged in exhibits for your enjoyment.
We were told that for the first time in the history of Macassar, a President would come to us. The town was ecstatic to receive Madiba. As his cavalcade drove into the complex, I couldn’t stop smiling. I felt as if freedom was tangible; and I just wanted to shake Madiba’s hand.
He’s a very tall man and he towered over us on that day. But he immediately connected with the people, even those from other parties who were opposing his visit. He connected and had that aura around him. I was standing there on the stage with him, every time just glancing towards him, smiling and laughing. He greeted me, ‘how are you?’ And I couldn’t say anything. I was so excited that I was speechless. The day was wonderful and I will remember it for the rest of my life.
I was a candidate for the Local Government Elections and he came and supported us. We understood later that it was a request from him that he wanted to go to an area where the people were not supporting the ANC. We took him to some flats, but even those with anti-Madiba posters shouted with joy and happiness when they saw him.
That area was very much supporting the old National Party who were the founders of Apartheid. Madiba went to a few houses, and even people who said they didn’t want to see him later saw him. He had this magical effect on them. I was all around him, walking with him. I glowed in the glory of being with Madiba. That’s why I feel I will cherish that picture for the rest of my life.
We didn’t win that election because the NP was very entrenched and much fear was created around the ANC. The people were starting to love Madiba but the ANC was still an unknown factor in those communities as the ANC had been banned for many decades.
Quote: "He immediately connected with the people, even those from other parties who were opposing his visit."
Collection: Moments with a Legend