Neethling remembers 'Madiba's magic'

The Olympic gold medalist says he will always remember Madiba's humility.

Olympic gold medalist Ryk Neethling says he will always remember how humble Madiba was.

CAPE TOWN - Olympic gold medalist Ryk Neethling says he will always remember how humble Madiba was.

Neethling spoke to 94.5 Kfm from London on Friday morning after hearing about Nelson Mandela's passing on Thursday night.

He says the former president was incredibly grounded and down to earth.

"I just feel so blessed to have been so privileged to have met him. I met him just after we won the gold medal in Athens. I actually sat next to him on a couch for about an hour and a half and his humbleness floored me. He was serving me tea and sandwiches, and all I wanted to say was just thank you, thank you. It's a lesson that I learned early on in my career, to be humble. And I think that was the Madiba magic, those small things that he did."

On Thursday night, Neethling paid his respects at Parliament Square in London, where there is a statue of the late former South African President.

The world salutes #Madiba. Freezing here but people are gathering and paying their respects. pic.twitter.com/s6WO2LAVc5

Portrait and Proteas at Madiba's statue at Parliament Square in London. "Africa's Father". pic.twitter.com/mKixCBj0pk

Neethling says Madiba had a magical aura.

"He always makes you feel like you're the most important person in the world. And I think that's what you're going to see in the next couple of days, just all that love pouring out. And it's just incredible, looking on Twitter, the whole world is looking at South Africa at the moment and thanking this great man."