Thursday 30 March 2017

Calm in eye of a storm

In Dublin in 2000, he made an impact without even speaking a word, writes Martina Devlin

Nelson Mandela receiving an honorary degree at Trinity
Nelson Mandela receiving an honorary degree at Trinity
Former South African Prime Minister Nelson Mandela meets Bertie Ahern
Nelson Mandela greets performers including Bono (2L) at a concert in Cape Town,
Martina Devlin

Martina Devlin

HE was the calm in the eye of the storm. Even when the industrious crackle of an entourage surrounded him, Nelson Mandela was a self-contained figure who remained impervious to the impact his appearance provoked.

The great and the good jostled and gaped when he walked across the cobblestones at Trinity College. But Mandela disregarded the flurry and fanfare, neither responding to questions called out from the crowd, nor allowing himself to be hurried by his minders.

Instead, he stood for a few moments and took stock; his steady gaze travelling round the Front Square to absorb the classical architecture of his surroundings.

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