Long live Nelson Mandela
Posted on 28 January 2011 | 10:01am
As visitors to my home know, I never went a bundle on getting myself photographed with the powerful people I met and worked with. I sometimes wish I had, not least when we were trying to get decent photos to go with my diaries.
I have plenty with Presidents Clinton and Bush, because US Presidents have an official photographer with them all of the time, and pictures get sent to virtually everyone they meet. I have a few of me and TB, mainly sent to me by UK photographers, but that’s about it.
Up in my office, I have a couple of Clintons, one TB (with my daughter and her best friend on the steps of Number 10 in Santa hats), and one Bertie Ahern. But the one that I value most of all pre-dates my TB days, and is a picture of me shaking hands with Nelson Mandela.
It was taken when I worked on the Mirror and we helped to sponsor a tribute concert at Wembley after Mandela’s release from jail. I have met him several times since that photo was taken, and he remains one of the few people on the planet for whom the hairs on the back of the neck stand to attention whenever he walks into a room.
His life story makes him one of the defining characters of the last century and his death, when it comes, will be one of the defining moments of this century. I just wanted to add my wishes to those of the millions in South Africa and around the world who are hoping and praying that that day remains some time off.