Reporting Laura Cole
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A Sacramento State professor was lucky enough to meet Nelson Mandela twice.
Boatamo Mosupyoe’s first encounter with the former South African president and longtime Apartheid prisoner was in Oakland.
It was 1990, just months after Mandela was freed from prison. He even gave special attention to her other daughter.
“We were just welcoming him and overwhelmed, because he has been in jail for 27 years,” Mosupyoe said.
At a small, private gathering, she said Mandela was inspiring.
“He was happy and thankful and grateful for all the support and the international support that made it for him to be released,” she said.
Nine years later, she’d meet with him again in Seattle, and this time he was the president of South Africa.
“This is very special,” she said. “I like joking when people ask me. I say that he was asking me for advice, but that’s not true.”
Their picture together is displayed proudly in her home.
“He asked me how I was,” she said. “The main thing that he said was, ‘When are you coming back home.’ I said I’m still coming, I’m on my way.”
And for a man who’s met and made a difference for millions, Mosupyoe says his memory and his message will never be forgotten.
“If the time comes and he goes and joins the ages, he has given to South Africa, he has given to the world, his legacy will endure,” Mosupyoe said.
And she says she is impressed with how humble Mandela is and how he always made it about the cause and the need for freedom, not about him or his personal struggles.