I love the sharpness and clarity of this pic; the way the foreground is so much in focus and the background is not despite the fact that the pic is not a close up. It reminds me of the tilt-shift technique but I don't think that's what has been used here. I'm not a camera buff, as you can tell; there is probably a straightforward explanation.
To the best of my recollection - which, admittedly, might be flawed - there was some uncertainty over whether President Mandela would attend the Rugby World Cup Final in Johannesburg in 1995. There never should have been as he had been a strong supporter of South Africa hosting the RWC.
I don't believe anyone expected him to show up wearing a Springboks jersey.
...a very small but symbolic and controversial act: He appeared before a massive worldwide audience wearing the green-and-gold jersey of the previously ‘whites only’ Springboks at the 1995 Rugby World Cup final in Johannesburg. This was a powerful statement that ’One Team, One Country’, was for real. It also symbolically represented what he had spent the previous year (his first year as President of South Africa) trying to move a racially divided and hurting country towards – forgiveness and reconciliation.
Here's a video of the cup presentation.
On this day, however, it is also worth reading Chris Bertram on the sanitization of Mandela. he reminds us that "the official voices of commemoration" will include many "politicians and others who cared little for the ANC or who actively opposed it". He writes:
we are witnessing the invention of a sanitized version of the man, focused on reconciliation with those who hated him – and who still hate those like him – and suppressing his wider commitment to the fight against social and global injustice
I do not believe that Canada's Dear Leader shares on ounce of Mandela's commitment to the fight against social and global injustice.
We should remember that for much of the West in the Cold War, South Africa’s thriving capitalist economy was what was important. Its resources were important. Its government, solely staffed by Afrikaners and solely for Afrikaners, was seen as a counter-weight to Soviet and Communist influence in Africa. Washington in the 1980s obsessed about Cuba’s relationship to Angola (yes).
That the Afrikaners treated black Africans like dirt and discriminated against them viciously, denying them the franchise or any hint of equality, was considered in Western capitals at most an unfortunate idiosyncrasy that could not be allowed to interfere with the West’s dependence on Pretoria in fighting the international Left.
He also notes that:
Ronald Reagan declared Nelson Mandela, then still in jail, a terrorist, and the US did not get around to removing him from the list until 2008!