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Last Updated: Friday, 17 March 2006, 10:55 GMT
Mandela the teenage pig stealer
Nelson Mandela with actors Presley Chweneyagae (l) and Terry Pheto (r)
Mandela said the film Tsotsi had put South Africa on the map
Nelson Mandela has spoken of his youthful exploits as a pig thief.

The former South African president made the revelations during a visit from the director and stars of the film Tsotsi, which won a Best Foreign Film Oscar.

Tsotsi is about a young gangster, and Mr Mandela said he identified with the main character.

Mr Mandela told how as a teenager in South Africa's rural Transkei region, he and friends would use the dregs of traditional beer to lure pigs.

"We'd go to the direction of the wind, so that the wind would blow from us to the village where the pigs are.

"And then we leave a little bit of the remains of the beer, and then the pigs come out... then we go further and put the stuff further away."

The future president and his friends would then stab the pig to death.

"The owners will not hear its shouts, and then we roast it and eat it."


"Some of the leaders of this country and elsewhere in the world started with misdemeanours of all kinds, but as they grew up, they became responsible people who have served our country very well," Mr Mandela said during his meeting with director Gavin Hood, and actors Presley Chweneyagae and Terry Pheto.

"And don't dismiss any youngsters who are not behaving according to your wishes. It is better to talk to them, to say 'no', you have made a mistake here. The correct procedure, you should have done so and so," he said.

Mr Mandela also thanked the makers of Tsotsi for putting South Africa "on the map", but Gavin Hood responded that it was Mr Mandela himself who had done this.

"You put us on the map so that we could follow, because without what you did, we would not have been able to make this film together as South Africans in a free country," the director said.

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