Philip van den Heever's Tribute
During the early nineties I was deputising as the head of the country’s first black-owned bank, FutureBank. Whilst at the golf course one day, I received a frantic phone call on my ‘brick’ cellphone from my PA to say that I had been invited to attend a dinner at the Presidency with Madiba, in recognition of a donation we had made to a cause close to his heart. Shaking (rather sweaty) hands with this man was like shaking hands with history itself and my wife and I were both astounded by his amazing humility and his larger than expected stature. We had a quick, stiff, Scotch in his lounge before dinner and exchanged pleasantries with the dozen or so other guests. Then we moved to the dining room, with the guests visibly jockeying for the seat closest to the great man. A couple arrived slightly late and there was no place for them at the large table, only a few seats at a small table away from the main table. In an almost biblical manner, the great statesman got up from the main table and went and sat with the lonely couple and enjoyed dinner with them all on their own. Although we deservedly earned second prize that night, we still had the privilege of having another struggle hero, Walter Sisulu, at our table. Altogether, truly an unforgettable experience.
Added 1 decade ago