We were invited to my sister Bobbi's home in 1997. Her in-laws, the Magagulas, came to visit. Amid all the hellos and hugging, stood old Mr Magagula, the father-in-law. Small, grey and frail, leaning heavily on his walking stick waiting patiently for the greetings to die down so he could sit down. My son Michael, then 5 years old, walked up to him, held out his hand and said 'Hello Mr Mandela'. It was one of those moments when there is a sudden lull in the conversations and everyone unconsciously and silently waited.
Mr Magagula slowly and achingly went down on one knee until he was on the same eye level as Michael, took his hand and said: 'My boy, I am not Mr Mandela, but I am honored and humbled to be called by that name.'
Emotions, laughter erupted. The conversation was resumed. Mr Magagula was helped up from his knees and the party celebrations continued with Michael receiving a lot of patting on the head and laughing remarks.
That was the closest I came to meeting Mr Mandela!
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