Nelson Mandela

Our opportunity to work for Nelson Mandela is the most important thing many of us have ever done. He was a transforming leader but also a unique person of such judgment, strong will, and unwavering commitment to justice—not just in South Africa but instinctively. …

He was pragmatic, respectful of his opponents, always learning with an earnestness and innocence. You’d find him at home in bed with the massive debate briefing books propped up on his legs, studying. And he would listen – until he decided what was right, and then he would be unwavering and brutal with his opponents. Frank Greer and I tried to get him to be hopeful in the debate with De Klerk and not attack all the time. He totally ignored us and attacked brutally because he thought the security forces were responsible for the ongoing black-on-black violence.

At the close of the debate, he reached out his hand to De Klerk and asked to work together, leading the media conclude this was the handiwork of his American advisors. Back stage, he told us mischievously, “I realized that you were going to be angry with me for being so mean to Mr. de Klerk, so I decided to reach out for his hand.” CONT.

Stan Greenberg, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner