Enid Johnson - 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.
It started with a phone call from a parliamentary office saying that the President would be coming to visit us at the Dolphin Educare Centre in Strandfontein. I thought that someone was joking, so I ignored the call. A couple of weeks later I again got a call and then realised that this was really going to happen.
The Executive body, staff and children were all informed as to what was going to happen on the 9th of June 1997. All got very excited especially the children, who practiced their National Anthem and one or two rhymes.
The day before the visit, the security squad and dogs came and did a sweep of the premises inside and outside. They were satisfied.
The day dawned, and before the entourage arrived the security squad came and did another sweep of the premises. Finally the cars all pulled up in front of the gate. The children all got excited; the staff was concerned that they should be on their best behaviour.
When the President walked in, leaning on my shoulder, I realised how tall he was. The charisma and humbleness of the President was so evident, you could feel it. He spoke to the children and the staff, and the children sang the anthem and said a rhyme or two and of course the President sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. The children were in awe that the President could do this. He then handed out chocolates to the children and staff.
When the visit ended we all walked out after him and the children sang again. The President spotted Kyle Davids with a rugby jersey on and had a special photo taken of the two of them. This was so thrilling for little Kyle. We spoke about this visit for weeks on end, that the President could take time out from his busy schedule and come out to meet little ones who are the future leaders of this nation.
The President’s visit to our Centre was the highlight of our 32 years in existence.
It was awesome, and to have been in his company even only for a short time, was an experience never to be forgotten.
Quote: "The President sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. The children were in awe that the President could do this."
Collection: Moments with a Legend