U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met her friend and former South African President Nelson Mandela at his country home taking a break from her multi-nation trade and security tour through Africa.
Mandela, in failing health, has only seen a few visitors outside his family in recent years. He met Hillary’s husband and former U.S. President Bill Clinton last month for the 94th birthday of the anti-apartheid leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
Hillary Clinton was greeted at the salmon-coloured house set amid rolling hills by Mandela’s wife Graca Machel, Reuters reports.
Mandela’s single term as president from 1994 to 1999 came during the Clinton presidency, with Mandela and the Clintons meeting often during the period.
Hillary Clinton, then first lady, was one of the leaders of the U.S. delegation for Mandela’s inauguration as South Africa’s first democratically elected president, calling it a “milestone of the 20th century”.
“I was on the verge of tears the whole time,” she said just after the event in 1994.
A few months later, the Clintons welcomed Mandela with a state dinner at the White House.
In 1995, Mandela showed Hillary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea his tiny prison cell on Robben Island where he spent most of his 27 years in jail for trying to bring down the white-minority apartheid regime.
Mandela’s last major public appearance was at the 2010 World Cup soccer final in Johannesburg. He has spent almost all his time since then at his homes in Johannesburg and in the Eastern Cape town of Qunu, near where he was born.