Remembering Nelson Mandela: 3 Special Cars Linked to the Madiba's Time as South African President

Remembering Nelson Mandela: 3 Special Cars Linked to the Madiba's Time as South African President

Former South African President Nelson Mandela would have celebrated his 104th birthday on 18 July, and we are reminiscing about some of the cars connected to the great man. There's the Toyota Cressida that transported Mandela from Victor Verster prison to the Cape Town City Hall in 1990 upon release to the gleaming red Mercedes-Benz S-Class the East London plant workers gifted him.

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nelson mandela cars, mercedes-benz, bmw
Nelson Mandela has been driven around in the flagship models from both Mercedes-Benz and BMW during his tenure as President of South Africa. Image: Walter DHLADHLA / AFP / Wikicommons
Source: UGC

The world mourned collectively on 5 December 2013 when Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela passed away. The Nobel Peace prize winner is an icon who fought against the apartheid regime who wanted white minority rules in South Africa and was imprisoned for 27 years, BBC reports.

When Mandela was released in 1990 from Victor Verster prison, he was driven to the Cape Town City hall in a Toyota Cressida and so began the famous tales of Madiba, as he is still affectionately known, with cars. We focus on three cars linked to the former statesman.

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From boxing belts to the Nobel Peace Prize, Nelson Mandela was honoured with countless gifts for his activism

1. Mercedes-Benz S-Class

In 1990, Mercedes-Benz workers at the factory in East London donated parts built during their overtime to produce a bright red W126 S-Class that was gifted to Mandela.

The gleaming red colour was to remind Mandela of trade union NUMSA'S (National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa), reports AutoPedigree.

mandela, mercedes-benz, s-class, madiba
Nelson Mandela cheers the crowd as he holds up high the keys of his Mercedes-Benz car, a gift that was specially built and handed to him by workers of Mdantsana. Image: WALTER DHLADHLA/AFP/GettyImages
Source: UGC

2. BMW 7 Series

Mandela did not want to accept a BMW as a gift from the German carmaker, instead the company offered to him as a test drive and simply never asked for it back, according to IOL.

Chris Moerdyk was head of strategic planning at the company and says the armoured car was fitted with an oxygen tank, run-flat tyres and even space for Madiba's bodyguards to fire their guns from inside the car in case they came under attack.

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mandela, bmw, 7 series, mandela
BMW provided Nelson Mandela with an armoured 7 Series that famously became the 'longest test drive' in history. Image: Chris Moerdyk / Facebook
Source: UGC

3. Toyota Cressida

Arguably the most famous car linked to Mandela is the Toyota Cressida that the former president and his wife at the time Winnie Mandela were transported from Victor Verster prison to Cape TowN city hall in 1990

According to the SABC, the Cressida went missing and landed up in Lesotho and the owner apparently told the broadcaster he would sell it to an overseas collector.

mandela, toyota, cressida, car
In 1990 Nelson Mandela and Winnie Mandela were driven in a Toyota Cressida that was mysteriously discovered in Lesotho 30 years later. Image: ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/GettyImages
Source: UGC

From boxing belts to Nobel Peace Prize, Nelson Mandela was honoured with countless gifts for his activism

Nelson Mandela was lauded all over the world and received gifts from far and wide, Briefly News reports.

It is no surprise that uTata Madiba was gifted for his contributions with honorary doctorate degrees from various prestigious universities, had streets named after him and even received some bizarre gifts that he seemingly loved.

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These are some of the most notable and bizarre gifts the late Mandela received while he was alive.

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Source: Briefly News

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