Happy 95th Birthday to the most precious man on earth!
“Give us a kiss!” I whispered in his ear – and he did!
It was 1999 – Mandela was a sprightly 81. I was campaigning to raise funds for a poor school near Cape Town that received no state money because it was built on Moravian Church land, but received no money from that Church – Catch 22! It was in an informal settlement called Mandela Park to English speakers and Imizamu Yetu to Xhosa speakers. We asked Mr Mandela if he’d come and help us raise R35,000 to build a new classroom. He said Yes! But he could only stay half an hour.
He stayed an hour and a half and raised R350,000! When Nelson Mandela looks at you and says “Give me your money,” you are mesmerized by his presence and just say “how much?” It was my turn to get a hug and as he squeezed me tight I whispered in his ear “give us a kiss!” He released me, thought about it, then gave me a whopping kiss on the lips, followed by a huge grin from us both.
That’s how I got to meet Nelson Mandela.
Tell me your Mandela story.
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