Mandela proved to be accomplished manager of public relations. He had emerged from prison when media communication had transformed into a system in perpetual motion, a beast that needed constant feeding, a voracious and fast-paced consumer of the soundbite. Somehow he seemed to have studied and fully embraced this reality, and he used his stature to exploit the media’s own needs and communicate important messages in line with his mission in a difficult transition.
He accepted with grace the intrusiveness of the media driven by its own fascination and that of the country and the world with Mandela the person. Using his iconic status he mastered the discipline of self-control to convey important messages about the collective interests of humanity and the place and role of SA in a globalising world.