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.
Stars in his eyes
From Bill Clinton and 50 Cent to Kate Moss and Prince Charles, Madiba just loves that A-list buzz.

When Nelson Mandela had the Spice Girls round to tea in 1997, he said an astonishing thing. Linking arms with Posh and Gerry, who were almost-dressed in a strip of tin foil and a corner of the Union Jack, he declared: "I don't want to get emotional, but this is one of the greatest moments of my life."

Excuse me? The world's greatest living statesman, South Africa's iconic president and the 20th century's most influential prisoner said it, like a gushing schoolgirl from Benoni hunting autographs.

Speaking of girls from Benoni, on another occasion he told Charlize Theron: "You have put South Africa on the map." Excuse me again. Yet it is Mandela's very twee-like delight in celebrities that delights us and makes him so beguiling, over and above our gratitude to him for saving the world from evil.

Mandela may get a kick out of being in the company of pretty women, but his fascination with the famous goes way beyond flirty old man clichés.

Much has been said about the "Madiba magic" effect on people -- from ordinary folk to rock stars and revolutionaries; the other way round is a phenomenon less explored.

But it is fair to say that if Mandela is the celebrity to beat all celebrities, he is the world's number one fan. He is not that fussy either.

Although he has hung out with the officially designated "great and good" -- shadow boxing with Muhammad Ali, hugging the Dalai Lama -- he also breaks bread with far dodgier public relations prospects.

He is on YouTube stealing glances at Michael Jackson's nose during a 1996 visit when the flailing star was already sinking into the "what-went- wrong?" columns of showbiz tabloids. Mandela even held hands with pop's biggest nut job as they walked back into the house, Michael's camp carnival umbrella jammed over his hat.

Mandela personally invited rough chick Amy Winehouse to sing at his 90th birthday bash in London last month, just after she was diagnosed with emphysema thanks to a crack habit. While Winehouse apparently outdid herself on stage, the tabloids had a field moment when she failed to pitch up for the Mandela photo-opportunity and was snapped instead jogging out of a bottle store clutching a brace of vodka miniatures.

In spin-terms keeping company with such flawed divas could look bad and ratings-savvy politicians would be instructed to keep away from stars-gone-bad, self-harmers, snorters and possibly scientologists. But with nothing to prove, Mandela is beyond the rules of engagement.

Hanging with Amy Winehouse can neither enhance Mandela's reputation nor harm it. Neither can his proximity to Michael Jackson's melting nose nor to Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam babble.

This is a man who cheerfully admitted he had been stood up by Brenda Fassie once -- long before Winehouse went AWOL on him. Their bad behaviour is no reflection on him, right? That's Madiba tolerance for you and enormous self-confidence.

There is nobody in the Who's Who Zoo he needs to be seen with or without. All of which makes his lack of discernment, his celebrity friendships and swoony fanships, endearing rather than a cynical exercise in accruing pop political brownie points.

There is little doubt Chris Rock's version of his meeting with Mandela when the American comedian visited the country on tour last month is an accurate reflection of what happened: Madiba had no idea who he was.

Not that he wasn't polite, Rock hastened to add. But then Mandela would be polite if Mr Delivery wandered into his living room. I know this because I once wandered into his living room at the president's residence in Cape Town.

He was watching television in his socks and he looked momentarily startled. But only for a moment; then he behaved as if he had been waiting for me to arrive for dinner.

It was really no surprise that Mandela chose to announce his "final" retirement from public life at his birthday bash in London last month: the consummate showman, the lover of limelight, action and audience, would want to go out twirling a silver cane. And what better stage to exit from than one groaning with famous friends and acolytes -- there to pay homage to him, but also to sharpen their own fame on his whetstone.

It was also really no surprise that Mandela was the only person in the marquee who didn't look like a complete idiot.

The United Kingdom's Daily Mail ran a compelling photo essay of the party "luvvies" getting drunk and a little desperate, in the maw of such multiple opportunities to squeeze their mugs up against one another's. Publicity-wise this was better than a Oscar night nobody could lose.

De Niro with Denzel, Elton with Uma, Clinton with Cherie, Oprah with everybody. The air was so kissed it's a wonder there was any left to breathe.

Naomi Campbell was there too -- still a frock star to be reckoned with, but no longer a goodwill ambassador for the 46664 campaign since kicking a police officer at Heathrow airport -- while wearing a 46664 cap -- when one of her bags went missing.

Crazy Campbell is possibly the only celebrity to be disciplined by Mandela, though I suspect if he were a few years younger, he would have called her in for a cup of tea and a rehabilitative chat. Deep down, he's probably still a fan.

Now it's Mandela the musical
Characters in the current crop of Broadway musicals include a murderous barber, a lovesick mermaid and the Swedish pop band Abba. Now a new hero is to join them: Nelson Mandela.

Leading Broadway producers are planning a show based on an upcoming memoir by Zindzi Mandela, a daughter from his marriage to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

The new musical was first suggested five years ago but the producers said they were waiting for the right inside story to come along. Zindzi Mandela's memoir, they said, provided that opportunity.

She was 18 months old when her father was jailed and was only allowed to visit him for 30 minutes every six months for the years he was held on Robben Island. In 1985, aged 14, she made world headlines when she carried a message from her father to South Africa and the world, in which he refused to accept a conditional release.

She helped him readjust to outside life after his release. In 1995 she told Thandi magazine: "From the day my father was free, we had to share him with the rest of the world. It sounds cynical but since he is free, we see less of him than before."

This week she said it was the right time for the Mandela story to be told. -- Ed Pilkington