Lerumo Kalako - 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.
This photograph was taken in the southern suburbs of Cape Town during the ANC’s campaign ahead of the historic 1994 election. I was the secretary-general of the Western Cape ANC at the time. Dr Allan Boesak was our candidate for Western Cape Premier.
When I think back to those days the first thing that comes to mind is how excited people were to have Madiba among them. When people speak of the “Madiba magic”, the fact that he emerged with so little bitterness after such a lengthy term of imprisonment is undoubtedly part of it. But Mr Mandela also had a huge sense of humour, and a manner of speaking to people that made them feel special, part of his team.
In the run-up to the election the warmth with which he greeted people was amazing to behold. He was willing and eager to hear what others had to say, listening to their challenges with interest and compassion. In political discussions, too, Madiba was a person who liked to hear the views of a broad section of people on any issue. He would not impose his views and ideas.
Once, during this election campaign – I think we were in Mitchells Plain – there were some people who insulted him and called him racial names. He did not get angry. Instead, he said people should acknowlege how deeply ingrained apartheid was in our souls. He was a big man with broad shoulders.
This is a person about whom we can truly say: He cared about his nation and political organisation first, not himself!
Quote: "He had a manner of speaking to people that made them feel special, part of his team."
Collection: Moments with a Legend