Unifying: Nelson Mandela presents Francois Pienaar with the Web Ellis Cup in 1995 after South Africa beat New Zealand 15-12 in the World Cup final. *AFP Photo
Unifying: Nelson Mandela presents Francois Pienaar with the Web Ellis Cup in 1995 after South Africa beat New Zealand 15-12 in the World Cup final. *AFP Photo

It is the moment that united a nation and one of the most iconic images in sporting history.

This is the moment Nelson Mandela, who passed away yesterday at the age of 95, presented South Africa rugby captain Francois Pienaar with the 1995 Webb Ellis Cup inside Ellis Park.

Mandela did so clad in full Springbok colours, which had been for so long a symbol of the white apartheid regime. 

The new president was determined to use rugby as a way of promoting racial reconciliation.

With the World Cup won on home soil and as the crowd chanted his name, Mandela said: “Francois, thank you for what you have done for our country.”

Pienaar replied: “No, Mr President. Thank you for what you have done.”