Mandela's extraordinary love for people


“We were on the train coming into Worcester and we got a call through the train driver that there was a young boy on the platform, he was blind and he wanted to feel Madiba’s face. So they stopped the train, Madiba got off and there was this little boy touching Madiba’s face and it was just the most chilling moment,” Gool, told CNBC Africa on Thursday.

The Cape Town Civic Center is hosting a year-long exhibition to honour Mandela and his life’s work. The exhibition was launched on June 30, 2013 and features photographs depicting key moments in his journey as well as his connection to people.

Gool, the photographer behind the exhibition, believes he had a very deep connection to the city.


“A lot of what he’s done for the country kind of resonates with Cape Town. His first address was from the parade in Cape Town after his release, a very significant event,” he said.

Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille orchestrated the exhibition.   

“Last year Tata Madiba was admitted to hospital and fortunately he came out again. I then had an idea that I would like the city to honour Tata Madiba while he is still alive and so the full council agreed in February this year that we will declare the year 2013 the year to honour Madiba,” she said.

“A person like this comes once in a lifetime. I don’t think anywhere in the world, we have delivered the kind of calibre of leadership like Tata Madiba,” de Lille added. 

Admirers from across the globe are expected to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday by devoting at least 67 minutes of their time to community service. Mandela will spend the day in the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, where he was admitted more than a month ago for a recurring lung infection.

“It all unfolded as Madiba was lying critical in hospital, we never planned it that way. I think what it does is give people something to do if you want to identify with what Madiba stands for. The exhibition is a nice way to go and pay tribute to him,” said Gool.