Well-loved Mandela has had the whole world in his hands

BLAISE TAPP: 'Tis the season to be more giving to the lonely

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I may have been on holiday, but I didn’t quite manage to cut myself off from what’s been going on.

Switching on the TV one morning, I managed to find a Sky News bulletin about Nelson Mandela remaining critically ill in hospital, and how he had shaped a nation.

But the presenter, reporting from Pretoria, broke off mid-stream to exclaim that a group of children had turned up to pay their respects.

It was less a chance arrival than a cynical attempt to illustrate how well-loved Tata Mandela had been.

Teachers arranged children and camera crews closed in and the youngsters began to sing for the world’s press.

There was really no need. Ever since Mandela was released from prison, he has had the whole world in his hands.