Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa lawyer recalls meeting Mandela

A woman adds her words Friday to a poster of Nelson Mandela covered with messages of condolence and support, in the street outside his old house in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa. People in black townships, in upscale mostly white suburbs and in South Africa's vast rural grasslands commemorated  Mandela with song, tears and prayers while pledging to adhere to the values of unity and democracy that he embodied.

Associated Press

A woman adds her words Friday to a poster of Nelson Mandela covered with messages of condolence and support, in the street outside his old house in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa. People in black townships, in upscale mostly white suburbs and in South Africa's vast rural grasslands commemorated Mandela with song, tears and prayers while pledging to adhere to the values of unity and democracy that he embodied.

TAMPA — When Tampa lawyer Jeraldine Williams, 67, heard about former South African President Nelson Mandela's death, memories came rushing back.

She felt emotional about his passing but said it also felt like a dove had been released. She spent Thursday evening recalling the Christmas in 1995 she spent with Mandela.

Williams had gone to South Africa in 1994 intending to help impoverished children and to assist with the country's elections. She says her son met Mandela's granddaughter and that acquaintance resulted in an invitation to Mandela's home, where she helped plan a traditional American Christmas celebration, complete with a chicken-stuffed turkey.

She said Mandela was so grateful that he invited her and her son, Walter Lee Smith II, to lunch the next day. She remembers him as self-deprecating and funny.

"It was such a big, big deal but he reduced it to such a personal experience," she said.

Williams remained in South Africa until 2000 and says she was impressed by Mandela's leadership.

"I saw him having such an impact on the common people who looked up to him as their father, not just their leader," she said. "If he said it was to be, then it was."

Tampa lawyer recalls meeting Mandela 12/05/13 [Last modified: Friday, December 6, 2013 3:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. PolitiFact: 6 questions about the Senate health care bill and transparency

    Perspective

    Now that a Senate health care bill has been unveiled, senators will be jousting over its provisions to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., joined by, from left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, speaks following a closed-door strategy session, at the Capitol in Washington on June 20. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
  2. Bicylist critically injured in crash involving SUV on Bayside Bridge

    Accidents

    A bicyclist was critically injured Friday morning when a driver drifted into his lane and struck him on the Bayside Bridge, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  3. Remnants of Cindy expected to drench Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia (w/video)

    Hurricanes

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Forecasters expect remnants of Tropical Depression Cindy to drench parts of Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia Friday afternoon and evening, bringing heavy rainfall, possible flash flooding and higher river and lake levels through the weekend.

    Wth a rising tide, strong southerly winds from Tropical Depression Cindy lash the lakefront Thursday, June 22, 2017 in Mandeville, La. [David Grunfeld | NOLA.com The Times-Picayune via AP]
  4. North Korea denies torturing American detainee Otto Warmbier (w/video)

    World

    SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Friday denied it cruelly treated or tortured an American student who was detained for more than year and died days after being released in a coma.

    Mourners line the street after the funeral of Otto Warmbier, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Wyoming, Ohio. Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student who was sentenced in March 2016 to 15 years in prison with hard labor in North Korea, died this week, days after returning to the United States. [Associated Press]
  5. Johnny Depp jokes about assassinating President Trump at Glastonbury Festival (w/video)

    Celebrities

    LOS ANGELES — Johnny Depp has asked a crowd at the Glastonbury Festival when was the last time an actor assassinated a president. The remarks came during a segment Thursday in which Depp was speaking about President Donald Trump.

    Actor Johnny Depp introduces a film at the Glastonbury music festival at Worthy Farm, in Somerset, England, Thursday, June 22, 2017. [Grant Pollard | Invision/AP]