Mr Lulu Mnguni, South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, said Nigeria was of great assistance to Mandela, and the struggle for freedom for the people of South African.

Mnguni made this known in his address at the Abuja Writers Forum’s Guest Writer Session on Saturday in Abuja.

The envoy, who was the special guest of honour at the event with the theme: “Celebrating Mandela,’’ said literature was a tool to strive for freedom.

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“ Mandela came to Nigeria in February 1963 to beg for money to help in the struggle for the people of our country and he was given the needed support.

“Nigeria as a country helped South Africa a lot in the struggle for freedom; I want to use this opportunity to thank Nigerians for the role they played in our struggle.

“ The African National Congress (ANC) was earlier in the struggle dominated by professors and other educated people, but Mandela later changed it and made people the centre of the struggle,’’ he said.

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Mnguni explained that people saw Mandela as a symbol of struggle; he was an intelligent lawyer, who did not compromised in spite of the contradiction happening in his country at that time.

While speaking on the life and times of Mandela, Miss Lynette Johnson of House Mosadi said even after Mandela was jailed in 1964, he continued with the struggle in confinement.

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News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a poet, Mr Andy Chukwunonye, read two poems out of 90 poems from his book title: `Letter to Mandela’ a collection of poems.

The high point of the occasion was a musical performance by David Aze, who sang `redemption song’ of Robert Marley. (NAN)