South Africa's first black president Nelson Mandela has died aged 95 this evening. From The Spectator's archive, here is a personal account of Nelson Mandela's character from November 1994. Richard Stengel collaborated with Mandela on his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.
Nelson Mandela loves newspapers. He reads them slowly, studying each article, turning the page with unhurried precision. On Robben Island, newspapers were denied him and he still savours them. For most of our flight down to Natal, Mandela was absorbed in the weekend Johannesburg Star. I sat across from him in a cramped and aged four-seat propeller plane. It was April of 1993, and I had been in South Africa for the previous five months working with him on his autobiography.