The Presidential Years

My take is that Mandela, on the one hand, respected the independence of the media as an institution. That was Mandela the statesman. But then Mandela the politician tended to react very forcefully where he thought that there was an unfair interpretation either of the ANC or the government or of himself.

But he tried to walk the tightrope and to react in such a way that there was no invasion of the right of the media to write and tell it as it is.

What he then tended to do would be to invite specific journalists to a breakfast. Then he would say, ‘Look this is what you said but this is in reality what the situation is.’ He invited me to one of those breakfasts but he shrouded it well when he said that ‘No, I must come with my new bride.’ I had just recently got married so he wants to have breakfast with my new bride, just to meet her and so on. When we’re there with my new bride he then broached the issue that he had wanted to broach in the first place which was an interpretation of what he had said. I don’t remember what it is that I had written. So that was how he tried to manage the situation.

Thami Mazwai