This morning, South Africa got up to sad news about the passing of South Africa’s most admired citizen, Nelson Mandela, he passed away last night at the age of 95.
The Siya crew caught up with the former Bafana Bafana striker, Philemon Masinga to share his experiences with the fallen global icon.
Affectionately known as Chippa, he mentioned the former president as the unifier of the nation, a man who inspired them to win the AFCON ’96.
“He inspired the rugby national team in the 1995 World Cup and in 1996, we knew it was our turn to make him and the nation proud. Prior the final against Tunisia, he came to our camp and encouraged us to go all out, give it our 100% if not 200% best and make the nation proud. He told us we’re not doing this for ourselves but this is a legacy that will remain for future generations to see. Getting such words from uTata was an inspiration which urged us to bring the trophy to him,” said the former Mamelodi Sundowns and Jomo Cosmos forward.
Masinga also unpacked his rare opportunity to get closer and get to know this global icon who everyone wanted to share a photograph with and how proud he is to have won the ’96 trophy for Madiba.
“Talking to him and touching his hand was something exceptionally special to me. I always thought I will meet someone very difficult to have a chat with, to my surprise, he was very humble and down to earth. I remember one day I was going to get my presidential award from him, he called me by my name, I was so shocked that he knew me. I had goosebumps around him and I expected somebody who will intimidate you but he wasn’t like that, he was a simple man indeed, a people’s person. I’m very honoured to have met him and won the cup for him and the country. We were also part of the struggle as sportsmen, it didn’t only end in politics so being part of that legacy made us feel special and honoured,” said Chippa.
The Klerksdorp-born striker revealed that what made Madiba special is the fact that he was prepared to forgive and reconcile with his oppressor.
“Tata Madiba had a beautiful heart, he was ready to forgive those who oppressed him and jailed him for many years at Robben Island. I will remember him for that. I’d like to say to his family, they must be strong, we’re fully behind them and they gave us their father and we loved him and we will always do, may his soul rest in peace,” added Masinga.