Columnist Royson James wrote, “Gordon Cressy (United Way, YMCA, Learning Partnership, former alderman) and his sidekick John Piper (who would later found the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund here and spearheaded Mandela’s 1998 SkyDome visit) were hoping to hold a concert at Massey Hall, part of the Arts Against Apartheid initiative.
“Before [Dave] McCamus [a Xerox Canada CEO] could nod, he found himself on a bus to Hamilton, along with singer Salome Bey, Piper and Cressy to convince legendary singer Harry Belafonte to perform at the concert. Belafonte did.
“‘I just got caught up in the spirit of it all,’ McCamus said Friday. John and Gordon asked, I gave them a place to meet and plan; I was just an enabler on the whole thing.”
And Haroon Siddiqui, also a columnist, wrote, “During Mandela’s second visit here, in 1998, John Piper, a media consultant, took unpaid leave for three months to work full-time to help fill the SkyDome with 45,000 school kids.
“Piper and [Canadian South African Zeib] Jeeva have since toiled for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.”