Nelson Mandela: June 30, 1990

The world will remember and celebrate the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela at his funeral today. But for me, that celebration took place on June 30, 1990 at the Oakland Coliseum when I had the amazing opportunity to hear Mr. Mandela speak live, just months after his release from prison.

My original ticket.

My original ticket.

When my best friend Matt and I heard that Mandela would be visiting the Bay Area on his “Thank You” tour, we knew we had to attend. The event sold out pretty much right away but we somehow managed to snag two tickets and on that beautiful Saturday morning, we drove from Santa Cruz to Oakland in Matt’s VW bus to be a part of history. We may have just been young and stupid teenagers, but we knew that this would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Nelson and Winnie Mandela enter the Oakland Coliseum.

Nelson and Winnie Mandela enter the Oakland Coliseum.

And it was. Here’s a video of that day:

Today, we mourn the loss of a true icon, a true revolutionary, a true leader—a man that deserved every accolade he has received. The man may be gone, but his legacy lives on.

RIP, Mr. Mandela.

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