Farida Omar - 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.
“In 1994 I participated in a women’s march to Parliament in order to hand over a memorandum to President Mandela. He came out and greeted everybody. I was pushing someone in a wheelchair, and when the President got to me he kissed my hand. I felt like I was going to die! I was so excited.
“The circumstances were very different to those in which I first met Mr Mandela, in. I brought his grandson, Mandla Mandela, for a visit to prison. I remember him as a tall 12-year-old boy who closely resembled his grandfather. The evening before the visit I prepared some samoosas and sandwiches for Mandla to take to his grandfather, in the hope that the guards would permit Madiba to eat them. The next morning, when the two of us got to the prison, the guard, unaware that Mandla was the only one with permission to see Mr Mandela, let us both in.
“In the old days I had a fruit and vegetable stall at the Salt River market, and every time Dullah (my husband, and Mr Mandela’s lawyer) went to visit Mr Mandela I would give him a bag of fruit to hand out to whoever he came into contact with. But he always returned with the fruit, the guards having searched his bag. In 1979 Dullah had a heart attack. In his absence, another lawyer went to Robben Island. The day before the visit, he visited my stall to enquire about Dullah. I gave him a bag of fruit. The following day he returned with a personal thank you from Mr Mandela; he had managed to get the fruit into the prison without being searched. Mr Mandela said it was the first time in 19 years that he’d seen a banana! ”
Mrs Omar is the widow of Dullah Omar, who was appointed by Mr Mandela as Minister of Justice in South Africa’s first democratically elected government.
Quote: "I felt like I was going to die! I was so excited."
Collection: Moments with a Legend