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50 Cent's career has taken him to every part of the globe. During that time he has had the opportunity to meet with many remarkable people. One of his fondest and most impactful memories is of his 2008 meeting with the former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela.
"For me that was a wonderful experience," the G-Unit CEO, told MTV. "When I met him he was real quiet. I didn't know what I expected. I'd seen photographs before and all that, but I was excited. I got up that morning like, 'Yo, they say I might be able to meet him.' I'd read things prior to that about him. Now you see how adversity could define you. When you see someone that willed their way through probably the toughest situations in the world. There's nothing tougher than that."
50 recalled visiting Robben Island and seeing the prison cell Mandela had to live in for 18 of his 27 years in prison, after being convicted in 1962 of sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the South African government. During that time Mandela only had a straw mat to sleep on.
Mandela's Robben Island prison cell
"Even the cell was like 6 x 6 feet. The other cells would feel like a luxury suite compared to that," 50 said. "Your feet would be at the door. They would have him out working, breaking rocks. It would create this white sand. The dust from that over the 27 years that he spent in the penitentiary had started doing a little damage to his eyes. To endure that type of discomfort... even the stories about his wife at the time, it's a horror film."
Visiting museums and talking to people who had experienced what it was like to live through apartheid made a lasting impression on 50.
"The learning process. We went to museums. We got a chance to go back step by step throughout history and different people that were around, that first hand experienced things during that time period. The things they would tell you off the air would intensify things," he continued. "When a person turns away from a picture and tells you something that personally happened to them during that time frame. It seems so far away from what we call hard times in low income environments within the U.S. It makes you look at your choices, like maybe you made them under the wrong thoughts. Because it felt like we didn't have anything or we were under the worst scenario ever. Then you see something that's more intense than that. It'll make you feel different."
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