Brent Councillors announced on its Twitter account that it had voted unanimously to confer the freedom of the borough on Mandela, 94, 23 years after the same proposal was voted down.

The Anti-Apartheid campaigner appeared at Wembley Stadium, which is in Brent, in 1962 and 1990, where a concert was held by the Anti-Apartheid Movement.

Suresh Kamath, who introduced the revered politician at Wembley, told the BBC: “Across the world people have recognised the importance of Nelson Mandela, the contribution that he’s made to transform the society of South Africa, but also this contribution he’s made to help Africa and the rest of the world.

“I’m really pleased and proud that the borough I live in is prepared to bestow this honour on Nelson Mandela.”

South African president Jacob Zuma is preparing the nation for the inevitable: “All of us in the country should accept the fact that Madiba [Nelson Mandela’s clan name] is now old. As he ages, his health will… trouble him and I think what we need to do as a country is to pray for him.”

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