President Nelson MandelaOn 16 September 1995, at long last, Pope John Paul II touched foot on South African soil for the first time. The Holy Father had made a solemn vow not to visit that country until the apartheid system had been overthrown. President Nelson Mandela, the freedom-fighter supreme, greeted the Pope at the airport and offered the Pope his heart's streaming gratitude-tears for the Pope's long years of inner and outer support:
""To say the visit is long overdue is to pay tribute to your own abhorrence of the system of apartheid. You delayed your visit to this country because you viewed with disdain a system that treated God's children as lesser human beings.""
Sri Chinmoy, Pope John Paul II: God’s Heart-Prize winner, Agni Press, 2002