Sarkozy, Mandela exchange gifts

5th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 5, 2007 (AFP) - President Nicolas Sarkozy presented Nelson Mandela with original photographs taken in 1952 of one of the first anti-apartheid protests led by the African National Congress, during a dinner in his honour late Tuesday.

PARIS, Sept 5, 2007 (AFP) - President Nicolas Sarkozy presented Nelson Mandela with original photographs taken in 1952 of one of the first anti-apartheid protests led by the African National Congress, during a dinner in his honour late Tuesday.

Mandela, in France as part of a fundraising tour for his foundations, gave the French president an autographed picture of his emotional return visit to Robben Island, where he spent 27 years in prison.

The photographs from Sarkozy were taken by Jurgen Schadeberg, a German-born photojournalist who spent years in apartheid South Africa, working in particular for Drum Magazine, and who now lives in France.

They show a young Mandela, then a member of the ANC Youth League, taking part in one of the first protests against white minority rule, according to presidential spokesman David Martinon.

Mandela, 89, arrived in Paris on Monday for a three-day visit and was welcomed by Sarkozy at the airport, a courtesy that is usually reserved to visiting heads of state.

He was the guest of honour at a dinner at the Elysee presidential palace that was attended by Prime Minister Francois Fillon, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Sarkozy's billionaire businessman friend Vincent Bollore.

Sarkozy's office underscored that the French leader admires Mandela, who led the struggle against apartheid to become South Africa's first black president in 1994.

The president "wanted to show France's support for Mr Mandela's current endeavours", saying the elder statesman "remains a freedom fighter in the struggle that he now wages with his foundation against poverty, AIDS and for education."

Mandela arrived from Monaco where on Sunday he attended a fundraising dinner hosted by Prince Albert II to help his children's foundation in Johannesburg.

US actor Morgan Freeman delivered a welcome speech to Mandela before some 350 guests who paid 3,500 euros (4,760 dollars) each to attend.

AFP

Subject: French news

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