Page last updated at 11:09 GMT, Friday, 27 June 2008 12:09 UK

The day I met Nelson Mandela

Ahead of his 90th birthday celebrations, BBC News website readers have been sharing their stories about the day they met Nelson Mandela or the man often referred to as 'Madiba'.

LIONEL FAULL, SOUTH AFRICA

Lionel Faull is in the black and white shirt, wearing glasses
Lionel Faull is a Kenyan born South African who is studying journalism.

He remembers Nelson Mandela being very witty and alert, someone who cracked a lot of jokes.

The picture shows the whole group of 2008 Mandela Rhodes Scholars.

ANTONIA AGBALAKA, NIGERIA

Antonia Agbalaka
Antonia Agbalaka has memories of Nelson Mandela being a very tall and skinny man.

She says he had a great sense of humour, even though he spent a long time in prison.

The picture shows Nelson Mandela and his former wife Winnie in 1990, the year he was released from prison.

JOHN ROBINSON, SOUTH AFRICA

John Robinson

John Robinson met Mandela as a young photojournalist.

He had been commissioned to do a group portrait of Nelson Mandela and some judges at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

RIDHI KALARIA, UK

Ridhi Kalaria
Ridhi Kalaria and her classmates met Nelson Mandela with Tony Blair at Downing Street.

Nelson Mandela told them never to give up fighting for what you believed in.

She was amazed at how a group of 11-year-olds were captivated and awe-inspired by this man.

PAUL CLOSE, UK
Paul Close

Paul Close was the official photographer for the 1996 South African Census.

He says meeting Nelson Mandela was the best project he has ever worked on.

Paul Close: "His words after leaving prison could have tipped the country into civil war if he had chosen retribution over forgiveness".



SEE ALSO
Your stories: Meeting Mandela
27 Jun 08 |  Special Reports
Stars wish Mandela happy 90th
27 Jun 08 |  Africa
Stars set for Nelson Mandela gig
27 Jun 08 |  Entertainment
Mandela criticises Mugabe
03 Jul 08 |  Africa


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