Evander Holyfield, the former world heavyweight boxing champion, arrives at King Shaka International Airport on Monday. He will be taking part in the Pro-Am of the Nelson Mandela Championship at Royal Durban Golf Club. Picture: Gcina Ndwalane

Durban - Moments after he landed at King Shaka International Airport on Monday, Evander Holyfield, the former undisputed world cruiserweight and heavyweight champion, sang the praises of Nelson Mandela.

Holyfield will participate in the Pro-Am of the e1 million Nelson Mandela Championship, which takes place at Royal Durban Golf Club from Wednesday.

“I feel greatly honoured to be here. Anything that Nelson Mandela is part of, I’ll always be honoured to take the opportunity of being part of as well – he is a good man,” Holyfield said.

“I know a lot about what he did for the millions during the apartheid era. When he first got out of prison some years ago I went to his house to meet him. It was when he was the president of South Africa – he’s a great man.

“The sacrifices he made to bring people together is something that stands out in virtually everyone’s mind around the world. He stood for what was right, hence, he was able to bring people of all races together in this country.”

Holyfield will be in Durban for seven days in support of the Nelson Mandela Championship, which is named after his hero.

“I bring recognition to an event that has Mandela’s name to it. I’m a people’s person and I like to see peace. I like to see the smile on people’s faces and I like to see people being offered the opportunity to overcome things in life and become a unit instead of being divided.

“That’s what Nelson Mandela stood for and I want to help his cause,” said the 50-year-old Holyfield, who still looks in great shape.


“You know, coming from the background I came from, I appreciated the opportunities I had at the time. I was a guy who was not self-made, but the opportunities I got made me think that I could overcome, change the situation and be what I wanted to be – something similar to what Nelson Mandela stood for,” he said. - Daily News