Bono, famed musician and activist, pens a moving tribute “My friend Nelson Mandela, the man who could not cry,” which was published by Time this week as part of a special tribute to the late icon.
‘He [Nelson Mandela] has been a forceful presence in my life going back to 1979, when U2 made our first anti-apartheid effort,’ explains Bono.
The Irish U2 front-man, venture capitalist and businessman, Bono, is known for his activism concerning Africa. Bono has co-founded many non-profit organizations including ONE Campaign, and organizied several benefit concerts and has befriended many influential politicians, such as the late Mandela.
“Laughter, not tears, was Madiba’s preferred way – except on one occasion when I saw him almost choke up. It was on Robben Island, in the courtyard outside the cell in which he had spent 18 of his 27 years in prison. He was explaining why he’d decided to use his inmate’s number, 46664, to rally a response to the Aids pandemic claiming so many African lives,” Bono writes.
Thanks to laboring away in the limestone mine, the dust damaged Mandela’s tear ducts, leaving him with the inability to cry. However as Bono shares, Mandela had surgery in 1994 to fix his damaged tear ducts, and now he could cry.
And as Bono movingly closes his article, “Today we can.”
For Bono’s full tribute, read it here.