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Jeremy Clarkson meets Nelson Mandela

And asks him if he's ever had a lapdance.

Nelson Mandela's former Personal Assistant, Zelda la Grange, has published an autobiography, which evidently includes disturbing, yet unsurprising, details about the family's wrangling over his legacy/estate and vignettes about encounters with world leaders and celebrities. Even having heard about Clarkson's racism, neo-colonialism, and general dickishness, I was quite shocked to see this quote in The Guardian's write up of the book:

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"I knew that Jeremy Clarkson was humorous but I thought he had tact. As I walked into Madiba's office the next day he asked Madiba if he had ever had a lap dance. I thought it was completely inappropriate for him to ask something like that to an elderly statesman and Madiba looked at me as if he expected me to answer. I turned to Madiba and said: 'You don't have to answer that, Khulu (grandfather).'"

She goes on to describe a halting conversation between Mandela and Clarkson and fellow Top Gear presenter James May. She accuses the visitors of underestimating Mandela's intelligence because of his age. "In my view, there was no respect."

So on that long plane ride from London to Johannesburg where they could discuss what one would say to the most revered figures of the 20th century, they settled on lapdances. And she lets them off by saying they underestimated his intelligence because "of his age." Yeah, that's the ticket. Wonder what Mandela thought?

I hope to meet Queen Elizabeth so I can ask her whether she spits or swallows.

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