Thursday, July 31, 2014

Excerpt from Opposite Mandela by Tony Leon: Madiba and De Klerk Wag Fingers at Each Other

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Aerodrome has shared an excerpt from Tony Leon’s new book, Opposite Mandela, in which he remembers the story behind the controversial photographs of two joint Nobel Prize winners, Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk, “wagging fingers at each other” after an event during the final months of 1995.
“This was a further reminder to the country that the relationship at the summit of political power was neither peaceful nor happy. In fact, De Klerk and the National Party’s presence in government would end, by their own hand, less than a year after the showdown that evening,” writes Leon.

Read the excerpt to find out what led to this altercation:
'Brian Gilbertson, the angular, youthful-looking chief executive of the mining giant Gencor, was an unusual business titan in South Africa in the 1990s. More in desperation than expectation, I had visited him around September 1995, to request funding for my party’s very threadbare municipal election campaign. At the time, other than the Oppenheimer family, most of Johannesburg’s commercial community met such entreaties with big smiles and very small, if any, cheques. Gilbertson, however, completely understood the need for robust opposition and promptly wrote a cheque for R250 000. He also requested my presence at the imminent opening of his company’s corporate headquarters.'

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