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.
From revolutionary to president: what Mandela has meant to me
It was a great moment for all of us to see the great man, in our minds lionised for being the first commander of Umkhonto weSizwe.

It was a hot summer day and dry lips were testimony to my hunger. I hung on perilously to a pole to avoid being pushed further away as the FNB Stadium struggled to contain the hundreds of thousands of pupils who had come to pay homage to that giant, Nelson Mandela, then recently released.

It was a great moment for all of us to see the great man, in our minds lionised for being the first commander of Umkhonto weSizwe. The ANC had in the 1960s decided to make this man the symbol and we all loved him for different reasons.

But I was clear: this was the first man to carry a gun in the interest of our liberation. It was a great time. It was also a terrible time as young people ran riot, killing and necklacing in Mandela's name. That year, 1990, I had seen a young woman, whom we all knew as a comrade in my township, being forced to drink petrol, doused with it and then set alight because someone had seen her inside a police Casspir and therefore identified her as an informer. But here we were, right inside the FNB Stadium, waiting for the great commander to speak, as youth league president Peter Mokaba led us in song and urged us to swell the ranks of MK. The atmosphere was electrifying as we all jumped knee-high simultaneously. I momentarily entertained the idea of "crossing" and joining MK.

When he spoke, the old man told us about the importance of education and told us to go back to school. It was not really as rabble-rousing a speech as we wanted, not the kind to inspire us to march to Pretoria and take it over by force, but it was an important one and I was to know that it was how the old man spoke: slow and deliberate. Not quite Martin Luther King Jr.

In my particular case the old man's message was not heeded as I went to school only for three months in my matric year because of ongoing riots. That year, I remember very well, we went to school only in March, August and September.

Over the years Mandela has meant different things to me. I remember later on when I was at university in the early 1990s, I and other young radicals were outraged by him elevating the insecurity of whites above providing services to our people. We saw his national reconciliation as advantaging whites and being meaningless to black people.

Then we used to say we will respect him as the leader and symbol of the apartheid struggle. But we swore that once he was out of office as country president, we would shake up the lethargic liberation movement and reverse the rot and corruption we saw setting in the ANC.

Looking back it is significant that, despite hating the direction in which he was taking the country, we respected the old man and wanted to step up the revolution only once he was out of the way. I remember that what used to irk us then was that we felt whites disrespected his organisation and us, the people he was representing, and sought to isolate and individualise his persona. The specific example I recall was our anger as members of the South African Student Congress when Wits University conferred a doctorate on Mandela at a time when we felt its management treated black students on campus with little more than contempt.

Our anger was also about his collaboration and failure to condemn what we saw as racism. It was only in the late 1990s when, as a journalist, I travelled with him around the country where he dished out goodies to kids at crèches and addressed meetings and I watched him embrace Cuban leader Fidel Castro and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation's Yasser Arafat that my faith in him was gradually restored.

But history has proved that he was a visionary in taking the country through that painful period where he had to assuage fearful whites as well as restore the dignity of black people. I also loved his honesty and ability to say uncomfortable things to whomever, be it George W Bush, the ANC, Thabo Mbeki, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, FW de Klerk, media owners or even the late Peter Mokaba.

During one of the visits to his house in Houghton, I had a picture taken with him. It still adorns our tiny dining room in my family home in Khutsong. Although I modestly try to shrug it off as one of those things, it has brought me immense respect as ordinary folk try to understand how and where I could have met Nelson Mandela. One of my grannies still proudly tells people that I work in Mandela's office —