Of course, it was on the cards. He was a very, very old man who had spent the best years of his life in political prison. I remember that bright and hopeful day in February, 1990 when Mandela walked out of prison and into the world again. He brought with him a dignity and poise, the like of which we hardly ever see in this world. He brought no bitterness through those gates. Together with F W de Klerk he broke the stranglehold of Apartheid in South Africa for ever.
One day I was walking past the entrance to the Guildhall in London. I stopped as a big black limousine drove out and paused before entering the traffic. I looked and then did a double take. Nelson Mandela was sitting in the back, his face close to the window. He saw my surprise; he grinned and waved. Then he was gone. I didn’t meet him, but he did smile at me.
Tonight in London was the Premier of the film Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.
He said “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”