tribute rodney berman

Dear Madiba,

You have had such a profound influence on me.
Some of the greatest moments of my life have been those where I have had the honour of spending time with you.
I want to recall just two of many such moments.

The first was when you were still President. Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler and I were privileged to have lunch with you, and then discuss boxing for hours. I couldn't believe your humbleness when you, the President of the Republic of South Africa, without thought, got up to pour your guests tea and offer biscuits!

Then came one of the proudest moments of my life. The afternoon of the Lennox Lewis/Hassim Rahman Title Fight, when you phoned me from Maputo to congratulate me and to tell me how proud you were of what I had achieved for the country in bringing this fight to South Africa. I was at home when my son told me that there was a call from Mr Mandela, who wanted to speak to me. I had read that you were in Maputo, so thought this was a prank call and told my son to hang up, but he insisted the call was genuine.

I took the phone, ready to play along with the caller - but it was really you!

Thank you for being such an inspiration to me, and for teaching me so much.