Posted on December 6, 2013 at 12:13 AM
Friday, Dec 6 at 12:13 AM
SEATTLE - Former Seattle Mayor Norm Rice said it was a proud moment for Seattle when Nelson Mandela paid a visit in December 1999. Norm's wife, Dr. Constance Rice, was apart of the host committee.
"I was lucky enough to be able to travel with his entourage that day," said Constance.
Paul Suzman, a South African native, had the job of introducing Mandela to a crowd of people at Benaroya Hall.
"We had the idea of Nelson Mandela conducting the Seattle Symphony," said Suzman who asked Mandela's secretary. "She came back to me and said, 'he has never conducted an orchestra before.' My response was, well, he has never run a country before either and he is doing a pretty good job."
Mandela agreed to lead the musicians through South Africa's national anthem.
"It was joyous," remembered Constance.
"I don't think we are going to see leaders like him again, at least in my lifetime," said Suzman.
Norm Rice said, "if anyone chooses to follow that path, our world would be a better place."