"I first heard of Castro and Cuba in the 1970s. I didn't know what the stakes were at the time except that the apartheid regime of South Africa was on one side whilst the Cubans were fighting alongside the Angolans. Many years later, I was to learn that the Cuban intervention and support in Angola was decisive in weakening the apartheid regime. Mandela wrote from prison that this "was the first time that a country had come from another continent not to take something away, but to help Africans to achieve their freedom."Mandela's first visit outside South Africa after his release from prison was to Cuba to personally thank Castro and the Cuban people for their unmatched support."