Alastair's Blog

Return to:  Blog | Articles | Videos RSS feed

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.

  • Dan1 Smith

    Wonder if you told Dick Cheney – the man who condemned him as a terrorist long after he was the world’s idol – as you talked up the war with Blair and Bush what a great guy he was. Hypocrite.

  • Anna

    What a pity that the previous poster had to attempt to sour AC’s sincere good wishes to a great man. Nelson Madela showed magnanimity to all, even those who had wronged him, and never sank to petty spite. Learn from him, Dan.

    I was delighted to hear that Nelson Mandela has been discharged from hospital. Long may his light shine.

  • Ehtch

    There are parallels to the great Madiba, like that writer in Russia, I forget his name, and also like what’s-er-name in Myanmar.

    But for me, in a more littler way, is this girl from ButeTown, Cardiff, next to it’s port. How she navigated the world from whence she came to, is a thing of beauty and admiration in its self.

    Dame Shirley Bassey, enjoy,

  • Ehtch

    The best documentary of Tiger Bay, and the first £1,000,000 pound cheque ever made out in the UK, was in Cardiff Bute Coal Exchange.

    Gwyn Thomas that went to St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, of all places, but he went to Spain, and met and had dinner wuth Lieutenants of Franco, pre 1936, yes.

    A must watch, I am telling you, enjoy, and all that. Gwyn Thomas in Spain in about 1935ish,