Imam Ali Gierdien - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
Welcome to the Nelson Mandela Digital Archive Project. Our aim is to locate, document, digitise, and provide access to all archival materials related to Nelson Mandela. This is a work in progress. Here is a selection of materials arranged in exhibits for your enjoyment.
This photograph was taken at the launch of a book, Madiba, The Rainbow Man”, by Lionel Maxim, at a school in Bonteheuwel sometime during 1997.
I am one of those few lucky people who had met Madiba even before his incarceration. It was when so-called “coloured” leaders organised a Coloured People’s Convention during 1960 or 1961. We went to Johannesburg to consult with Mr Mandela as the government had banned the convention. We however discovered that the town of Malmesbury was left out of the banning order and we promptly went there for our conference!
My moments with this real legend, including having dinner with him at Genadendal while he was the President of the country are, and will remain, sacred moments in my life. I had the rare honour also of being called upon on behalf of the Muslim Judicial Council of South Africa, to be one of four speakers (including Senator Jessie Jackson) to welcome Madiba in the Mayor’s parlour on the day of his release.
At the launch of Madiba, the Rainbow Man I had the rare distinction of being asked to “introduce” or to present Madiba to the audience. What amazed me about the man was his constant humility, sincerity and matter of fact attitude. On that particular day he said to me, “Today I will do whatever you want me to do. You are the boss and I will obey!”
Men of the calibre of Madiba only come once in the lifetime of a person. Those of us who have been fortunate to have spent moments with this giant of a man are indeed grateful and will carry those memories with us for as long as we live.
Quote: "He said to me, ‘Today I will do whatever you want me to do. You are the boss and I will obey’!"
Collection: Moments with a Legend