Mandela Balls: John Simpson Says Nelson Mandela’s Death Makes Him Feel Like ‘An Orphan’
NELSON Mandela is dead. The world salutes a lost leader. And we ask that only South Africans call him Madiba. And then John Simpson types his tribute to the man:
The BBC reporter softens readers up before the pic last line:
I listed him as a hero in my examination for Cambridge, and when I got there in 1963 I found someone had painted “FREE NELSON MANDELA” in huge white letters on a wall that I had to pass every morning on my way to lectures. It caused a scandal at the time: graffiti was still frowned on in the early 1960s.
Nowadays, graffiti on Cambridge walls is fine. Go for it.
Alone with him, I understood why people worshipped him. It wasn’t just his humility, it wasn’t even his famous lack of bitterness. It was the way he looked you straight in the eyes and spoke only to you – to the person you wanted to be, perhaps, rather than the one you actually were.
It was him talking to the BBC’s political editor…
Yet he was quite remarkably normal.
And then this:
Like everyone else, I’ve been aware of him almost all my life. Now he is alive no longer, I feel very much like an orphan. I suspect I’m by no means alone.
John Simpson is 69. He knew both his parents. His mother died in 1983.