Excerpt from The Verwoerd Who Toyi-toyied on Nelson Mandela’s Irish Security Escort
Broadsheet has shared an extract from Melanie Verwoerd’s biography The Verwoerd Who Toyi-Toyied in which she writes about a curious incident that occurred when Nelson Mandela visited Ireland to attend the Special Olympics in 2003.
Verwoerd, who had served in Mandela’s parliament, was the South African ambassador to Ireland at the time. She describes her astonishment on learning that the security escort for Madiba had been withdrawn by “someone senior” on the day of his arrival.
Read the excerpt:
I knew that Madiba wasn’t difficult or demanding but the basics had to be in place such as security, transport and a comfortable hotel room. As was the norm , two of his security personnel arrived a few days beforehand to ensure everything was taken care of. We met with the irish police and were assured that all was well .
I double and triple-checked everything.
On the morning, I was at the VIP Lounge in Dublin Airport early with Madiba’s security. The lounge was filled with arrivals – including the Kennedy Shrivers.