Baghdatis and his team were all labelled as either white or non-white prior to entering the museum and forced to enter through separate doorways.
“It’s weird you know, knowing that they separated people for everything."Then he was taken through a visual and physical explanation of the life of Nelson Mandala.
"They had different toilets, black people had toilets, white people had other toilets, but it was not only that, it was everything, beaches, houses, taxi queues, entrances, bus stops and mainly the black people suffered a lot and that’s sad to hear.”
“I can understand now why he is a hero to so many people."During the tour Baghdatis was also asked to take the walk of freedom, an experience that saw him choose a series of coloured sticks which represent various characteristics of Nelson Mandela’s life.
"The guy is an amazing person and whatever he wanted to and whatever he wanted to help those people he did it even if it meant death for him."
"He spent 30 years of his life in prison and he suffered a lot to maintain what he maintains today, and I have a lot of respect for him."
"I can understand now why people see him as a hero,” Baghdatis remarked.
Reflecting on his choice of sticks Baghdatis said “I chose loyalty because it’s always important to have loyalty to everything in life, courage I chose because showing courage is when you get the best out of you, and forgiveness because we have to forgive people that made mistakes and give them a second chance to make everything right for all the people that live this life and to leave a legacy that will not allow people to suffer like other people have”.Finally the tour ended with Baghdatis signing the museum’s visitor book, the same book which Mandela signed when the museum opened in 2001.
Meanwhile at the SA Tennis Open, Baghdatis eased into the quarterfinals and he will meet David Ferrer.
(Via atpworldtour.com, SA Tennis Open website; Images by Reg Caldecott/SA Tennis Open)