Nelson Mandela


Dietrich Fischer – TRANSCEND Media Service

In 1998, President Nelson Mandela of South Africa invited the local top executive of British Petroleum for a breakfast meeting at his home. When the executive arrived, Mandela went to greet him at the door and asked if he had come alone. He said yes. Mandela asked,

“Didn’t you come with a driver?”

The executive said that the driver was waiting outside in the car. Mandela asked him to bring the driver inside; he had prepared breakfast for three. He considered the driver worth of the same respect as the executive. This simple gesture deeply touched him and he became one of Mandela’s closest friends.

When Mandela later opened a foundation for children, that executive became one of the major contributors.


Dietrich Fischer (1941-2015) from Münsingen, Switzerland, got a Licentiate in Mathematics from the University of Bern 1968 and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from New York University 1976. Fischer was a MacArthur Fellow in International Peace and Security at Princeton University 1986-88, has taught mathematics, computer science, economics and peace studies at various universities, and been a consultant to the United Nations. He was co-founder, with Johan Galtung, of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment in 1993.

Excerpted from Dietrich Fischer’s Stories to Inspire You – TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 28 Dec 2020.

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