Madiba tribute: Ruth Mompati

By Kirstin Buick
06 December 2013

Madiba tribute: Ruth Mompati pays tribute to Nelson Mandela.

MANDELA’S FORMER SECRETARY, MAYOR OF VRYBURG UNTIL 2011

I joined Mandela and Tambo [law firm] as Nelson Mandela’s secretary and typist at the beginning of 1953 just after the Defiance Campaign. Nelson was very busy so he was very demanding but both he and Oliver Tambo were good people to work for.
'He didn’t talk down to women; he treated them as if they mattered.'

You could see the type of person he [Mandela] was – he was able to relate to people with respect and therefore he was respected in return. That didn’t mean he didn’t get angry or he didn’t sometimes shout. If you made a mistake and he had to correct you or if the work he thought would be ready wasn’t, he made no bones about letting you know.

He wasn’t arrogant; he was more a man with a big heart. I’m not quite sure that I know why women found him attractive although he was an attractive man and he had personality. It must be because he listened. He didn’t talk down to women; he treated them as if they mattered.

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