Ken Livingstone pays tribute to the late Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Former London mayor, Ken Livingstone, has paid tribute to the late Nelson Mandela, who died yesterday aged 95.

Mr Livingstone, who lives in Cricklewood, claims Mandela was an “amazing man” who helped bring an end to the worst example of racism since Nazi Germany.

“It is very rare for people to change the cause of history in that way,” he said.

He added: “I don’t think I have ever seen a politician who got to such a position of power without it changing him,”

The former major recalled meeting Mandela for the first time in 1990s during his visit to the borough.

Mr Livingstone said: “When you met him he was completely ordinary and relaxed -not vain.”

“He was just very comfortable in his own skin and was a pleasure to be with.”

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The Labour man believes that Mandela’s rise to prominence paved the way for Obama to be elected president.

“It helped to diffuse the fears of the racists in America because they saw Mandela come to power with no vengeance.”

Commenting on his most memorable meeting with the former South African president, Mr Livingstone said he was “moved” by the audience’s reaction during the unveiling of his statue in Parliament Square.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the first black president of South Africa, died at his home in Johannesburg after a series of lung infections.

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