Mandela had promised to see me: Friend

By Drum Digital
12 December 2013

Madiba promised to return to the village and spend some “quality time” with him “best friend”.

Former President Nelson Mandela had promised to come back to Qunu to visit an old friend and neighbour before his hospitalisation and subsequent death.

Speaking to DRUM from his bed, the frail 92-year-old Kekena Mangqwambi – known throughout Qunu as Mandela’s “best friend” – said the late struggle icon promised to return to the village and spend some “quality time” with him. “The news of Dalibhunga’s (Mandela) death devastated me. He promised to come back to see me and that I should be the first person to shake hands with him when he lands here,” said the bedridden elder. Mangqwambi grew next door to Mandela’s Qunu farm and has been on several helicopter rides with the late statesman after his release from prison. “I heard of his passing from the TVand I still can’t believe that I will never see my friend again,” he said.

He hopes to attend his friend’s funeral although his swollen feet do not allow him to walk beyond his front door.

“I’m relying on my son to take me there so I can bid my last goodbye to Dalibhunga.”

Mandela will be buried in Qunu on Sunday 15 December.

-By Suprise Mazibila

Pictures by: Mduduzi Ndzingi

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