‘Oh Elizabeth’ - 5 quotes by Nelson Mandela on the late Queen Elizabeth and Britain

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The queen with Nelson Mandela during her 1995 state visit to South Africa. (PHOTO: Gallo Images/Getty Images)
The queen with Nelson Mandela during her 1995 state visit to South Africa. (PHOTO: Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Former president Nelson Mandela’s friendship with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is widely documented.

When Britain announced the death of its longest-serving monarch on 8 September 2022, anecdotes about this friendship have resurfaced.

Here are five quotes that illuminate the extent of South Africa’s first democratic president’s affection and thoughts about Britain and its queen:

1. First-name basis

Oh Elizabeth
Nelson Mandela, News24

Former president Nelson Mandela was reportedly on a first-name basis with Queen Elizabeth.

2. Nelson Mandela named her Motlalepula

As a token of our affection to Her Majesty, we conferred on her the name Motlalepula, because her visit coincided with torrential rains as we had not experienced in a long time. With the threat of El Nino, we would have welcomed her presence in this period even more. But we can rest content that a part of her soul and her magic is with us today.
Nelson Mandela, Nelson Mandela Foundation

3. He joked about her weight

Elizabeth, you’ve lost weight!
Nelson Mandela, Reuters

According to his personal secretary, Zelda la Grange, the former president once joked about Queen’s weight  

Britains Queen Elizabeth II and South African Pres
Queen Elizabeth and Nelson Mandela (Photo: AFP)

4. He abhorred the notion of British imperialism

While I abhorred the notion of British imperialism I never rejected the trappings of British style and manners.
Nelson Mandela, BBC

5. He hoped Britain would erect a statue of a Black person

We thank the British people once again for their relentless efforts in supporting us during the dark years. When Oliver Tambo and I visited Westminster Abbey and Parliament Square in 1962, we half-joked that we hoped that one day a statue of a black person would be erected here.
Nelson Mandela, BBC

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