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Pienaar remembers Mandela

SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

Pienaar remembers Mandela

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CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) – Their friendship helped forge a new country, the white rugby player and the black president who came to represent South Africa’s racial reconciliation.
Former Springboks captain Francois Pienaar remembered Nelson Mandela’s smile and his “booming voice” in a television interview broadcast hours after the anti-apartheid leader’s funeral yesterday.
On the Carte Blanche program, Pienaar spoke of his first impressions of Mandela in their meeting before the 1995 Rugby World Cup, saying he was struck by that voice, but also “a big man. Strong man … That’s the first thing I always tell people.”
Pienaar reflected on South Africa’s triumph in the tournament final and how Mandela’s decision to wear a Springboks jersey made the player so emotional he couldn’t sing his country’s new national anthem because he felt he would cry.