The world pays tribute to Mandela (slideshow)
As South Africans come to terms with the loss of former president Nelson Mandela, the rest of the world bids farewell to Madiba.

Pimples: Saving Madiba's rabbit (video)
Gwede, Mac and Blade try their best to stop the rabbit from whispering in Mandela's ear. But the elusive animal has some tricks up its sleeve.

Zapiro's best Madiba cartoons (slideshow)
From his toughest moments to his most triumphant, Madiba has been an inspiration. Here are some of our favourite Zapiro cartoons about him from 1994 to 2013.

Mandela: SA's greatest son laid to rest (slideshow)
The world watched as Nelson Mandela was finally laid to rest in his hometown of Qunu following a dignified and moving funeral ceremony on Sunday.
Robben Island's man in the iron mask
It seems to be well on the way to becoming a shrine, this room, judging by the numbers of pilgrims gathering at its iron door every day.

David Beresford
It seems to be well on the way to becoming a shrine, this room, judging by the numbers of pilgrims gathering at its iron door every day. But despite the devout look on the faces of would-be worshippers, there is nothing holy about it, any more than there is about the man to whom these 25m x 20m of space was for so long a home.

He is a religious man, but no saint lived in this monkish cell on the penal colony of Robben Island. In fact, when one thinks about it, part of Nelson Mandela's attraction is that he is so human, a person haunted by a sense of personal failure despite his undoubted public triumph.

The abandonment of his family he has singled out as his particular failure and for that he has had to pay a high price. It was in this room he tried to hide his grief when he was told of the death of his oldest son, Thembi, in a car crash.
"I shall look after the family while you are gone," had been the farewell words of the child. "I returned to my cell and lay on my bed. I do not know how long I stayed there ..." recalled Mandela later of the day he received news of the tragedy.

"Finally Walter [Sisulu] came to me and knelt beside my bed and I handed him the telegram. He said nothing, but only held my hand. I do not know how long he remained with me. There is nothing one man can say to another at such a time."
It was also this room which bore witness to the dreams of the love which possessed him. "At my age I would have expected all the urges of youth to have faded away. But it does not appear to be so," he wrote to Winnie Mandela in 1979, after 15 years on the island.
"The mere sight of you, even the thought about you, kindles a thousand fires in me."

They were thoughts which made him vulnerable and so he constructed a mask behind which to hide them. It was a mask which was to serve him particularly well after that happy moment 10 years ago when he strode to freedom, quite probably the most popular man who had ever walked the Earth.

He rammed the mask on when he was told of Chris Hani's assassination, as he faced the spectre of a bloody race war. He had the mask on when he confronted the public betrayal of his love. He hid his terror behind the mask when an aircraft in which he was travelling seemed about to crash, seeming indifferent to the ambulances and fireengines rushing excitedly about, far below. He stared, muzzle-like, through the eye-pieces in that mask at his opponents smiling grimly across endless negotiating tables ...

How history will judge this man in his mask of iron only history can tell. Public reputations, it should be remembered, are fickle things. They tend to be built on shifting sands, their dimensions determined more by the vagaries of such as world economic trends and the brief moods whipped up, as often through accident as by design, around the ballot boxes which, after all, record little more than the caprices of time.

Some people are made by prison, others are broken by it, as Mandela has observed. Perhaps it also needs be understood that betrayal, whether by us or of us, is part of the human condition; not to be excused, but recognised as such in order to survive a room such as this.

There exist, of course, many other such cells around the world, whether built of steel and concrete, imposed on the body or constructed in the mind. This one serves as a reminder that, for those who recognise the battlefield laid within it, greatness is to be won.