”It was in 1990 that I photographed Nelson Mandela and took the first portrait of him after his release from 27 years in prison. It was incredible to meet Mandela. The adrenaline rushed, it was magical to see him enter the room. I almost thought I was dreaming, it was so that I had to pinch my skin. I have not experienced that since.
The clenched fist is the ANC’s gesture of freedom. I saw a picture in a magazine that showed when Mandela stepped out of the airplane at Arlanda and there it looked like he was making the gesture of freedom in his forehead. I thought it was a good idea, but did not know if I would dare to ask him. Of course it was a bit controversial.
But when I asked, he just laughed and thought I was crazy. We had almost childish contact, laughing at each other.”– Hans Gedda