man recounts the day he met Nelson Mandela
Burnham-On-Sea resident has this week recounted the incredible
moment he shook hands with Nelson Mandela just days after the
former South African president was released from prison.
Turner met Mr Mandela outside his bungalow eleven days after he
was released from jail in 1990 in front of the full media glare,
as pictured here.
told Burnham-On-Sea.com this week: "I'd talked my way into
Nelson's garden and bungalow by explaining that I was an author
of human rights and wanted some more teaching material. I was
the only non-press person there."
surprised Nelson at the press photo shoot by saying 'Mr Nelson
Mandela, please could you look this way for a photo and please
can I have my photo taken with you? I am a school teacher in England
and we teach about South Africa'."
laughed and replied 'Come here, you have just become my hero.'"
adds: "Everyone laughed as I was being photographed by the
world's press. Journalists interviewed me for me taking the opportunity
to be the first tourist in the world to meet him."
could unexpectedly and suddenly produce humour and warmth. He
was ready to laugh. He was tall and strong."
did not think he would reach 95 because soon after his release
there was speculation about his health. He is the greatest man
in the world and that means we all wanted him to live forever.
Our heroes have to be ageless and immortal."
- who frequently visits Africa, as recently
reported here - says he briefly met Mr Mandela again a year
ago in Nairobi. "He remembered what he called a gem of a
story as I was the first ordinary foreign citizen to meet him
after his release!"
former South African president died last Thursday, aged 95. His
funeral will be held this coming weekend.
Top, the moment Michael met Nelson Mandela and, above, a recent