Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza SC - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza SC
This photograph, taken outside the Mthatha City Hall, encapsulates an important part of what made Tata Rolihlahla Mandela an extraordinary leader. The term “accessibility”, as used by politicians, has become something of a cliché. When applied to the former President, however, it fits like a glove. Here was a leader of enormous power – respected the world over – who always remained a true man of the people. This is demonstrated by the fact that even when on important business, surrounded by security guards and officials, he was always “one of us.” How many Presidents have you heard of who are approachable by so-called ordinary people on the street?
I cannot remember the exact date on which the photograph was taken; I think it must have been in the wake of the December 1998 tornado that whipped through Mthatha killing three people and injuring another 150. Mr Mandela had himself narrowly escaped injury, being rushed from the shop of Mr Mnukwana (a local businessman also in the photograph) just before the walls collapsed. His VIP Protection Unit, at that time commanded by Colonel Thembile Khuphiso, noticed the pending disaster and managed to bundle him out of the shop into his car as the tornado hit the city centre.
The other people in the photograph include senior municipal officials and members of the business community.
Quote: "How many Presidents have you heard of who are approachable by so-called ordinary people on the street?"
Collection: Moments with a Legend