Mandela's Ipswich friend hears news from legend's brother

ONE of Nelson Mandela's brothers telephoned a home near Ipswich, west of Brisbane, on Friday morning to tell one of the statesman's jailed friends that Mabiba had passed away.

"They called me from home - one of Mandela's brothers - to tell me," Redbank Plains man Felix Balfour said.

"He told me that the old man had passed away."

That old man was Nelson Mandela, the world's figurehead for the transformation from the ugly South Africa apartheid era to a functioning democracy. Mr Mandela was 95.

Mr Balfour counted the former South African president as a friend.