Mandela Walks Through Brandenburg Gate with Daughter
BERLIN (AP) _ Nelson Mandela was cheered as a hero Thursday when he walked through the Brandenburg Gate that once marked the Cold War division of Germany’s capital.
The symbolism was not lost on the man who is working to breach the racial divide _ and deliver an economic miracle _ in his native South Africa.
President Mandela told a news conference later that like Germany after World War II, post-apartheid South Africa faces ``a similar problem″ of rebuilding from human trauma and economic devastation.
``The spectacular rise of Germany ... to a world power whose economy is strong and flourishing, is a model which we are following in South Africa,″ Mandela said.
``It is for that reason that we are strengthening our relations. Because we want that skill, that capacity to rise from the depth from that situation, to rub off on us,″ he said.
Mandela hopes the business and political community will be as adoring as the hundreds of admirers who cheered from the moment his motorcade approached the western side of the stone arch.
Mandela met with business leaders in Berlin on Thursday afternoon, including Daimler-Benz chief Juergen Schrempp, but he would not say if any deals had been struck.
At the Brandenburg Gate, Mandela held the hand of his daughter Zindziwe Mandela-Hlongwane as he walked through the central arches. And he never stopped smiling as he stopped to shake hands and give out autographs, exuding a cheerfulness that impressed many in the crowd.
``We need a politician like this in Germany,″ said Friedhelm Lennartz, a human rights activist who said he had organized commemorations at the Brandenburg Gate on Mandela’s birthday during the 27 years he was jailed for opposing white-minority rule.