Sask. woman has personal connection to Mandela

The impact of Nelson Mandela's legacy is particularly striking for a woman in Shamrock, Sask. whose father was the personal physician of the statesman's former wife in the 1970s.

The impact of Nelson Mandela's legacy is particularly striking for a woman in Shamrock, Sask. whose father was the personal physician of the statesman's former wife in the 1970s. 

LiezelHattingh left South Africa and moved to Saskatchewan in 2007, but she never forgot her roots. 

Her father was killed in a car crash on his way to visit Winnie Mandela in 1979. He was going to deliver a work permit that would allow her to work at his practice. 

Hattingh said her dad was also an underground anti-apartheid activist, who would treat and help hide guerrilla fighters that were with the African National Congress. 

After hearing the news of her father's death Nelson Mandela sent letters of condolences to Hattingh's family from jail. 

"He was probably the most loved statesman that I've ever known in my life," said Hattingh. "Not just by South Africans, but I think he touched everybody right through the world that met him, was completely taken by his humble spirit." 

Hattingh said, the way Mandela was able to find peace after 27 years of imprisonment is significant to her. 

"I think just his absolute forgiveness and embracing your fellow human being and working to the betterment of everybody, and his love for children and education, I think that carries through to everything," she said. 

Mandela will be buried in his ancestral home of Qunu, a small village in the Eastern Cape of South Africa on Dec. 15.


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