Nelson Mandela’s walk not showing near you

#181. Watch BBC footage of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison (20 years tomorrow) and the day that followed because quite incredibly I can’t seem to find SABC footage of that historic time. I was searching for SABC’s coverage of the day and the commentary from one Clarence Kuiter (I think it was him, and not sure of the spelling) that seems to have been erased from digital memory and in the absence of footage, from mine – that’s one powerful corporation. (Not surprisingly.) I recall much talk of sun and taps filled with water and lots more inane commentary as the hours dragged by (it conjured up at least 20 of the 27 years) and Clarence bravely soldiered on struggling to retain his composure and the conversation amid endless delays and long shots of people waiting outside Victor Verster prison.

I recall the day clearly – my brother and I glued to the TV for hours having been given the responsibility of babysitting a three-year-old nephew who kept asking what we were waiting for. Superman, we said, a comment that kept him sitting on the couch with us for hours until Nelson Mandela finally walked free and he asked : “Where’s his cape?”

This was pre-The Incredibles but it was clear even then that this was one superhero who didn’t need one. Seeing the moment again still brings tears, and fills me with hope. It’s a shiny piece of history and I feel honoured to have been a witness to it (despite the BBC’s rather bleakish outlook at the time).

I was planning on embedding the footage of his walk to freedom but the BBC hasn’t quite embraced the online culture of sharing — they have disallowed this on You Tube — so you need to click here for it.

And if it’s not a journey you want to take watch this scene from The Incredibles on why superheroes gave up wearing capes.

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