Nelson Mandela's Circle of Influence

The former President of South Africa was friends with some of the most interesting celebrities and newsmakers of our generation.

Myeisha Essex Dec, 05, 2012

1 of 14 ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images

Oprah Winfrey poses with Nelson Mandela at the groundbreaking ceremony for Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in Johannesburg in December 2002.

2 of 14 Terry O'Neill/Getty Images

Mandela talks with Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith at a photoshoot for his 90th birthday in London in 2008.

3 of 14 Dave Benett/Getty Images

Beyonce Knowles gives Nelson Mandela a hug at the 'Give 1 Minute To Aids' Concert at the Greenpoint Stadium in Cape Town in 2003.

4 of 14 KMazur/WireImage

Whoopi Goldberg shakes hands with Nelson Mandela at the opening night ceremony at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2002. 

5 of 14 Oryx Media Archive/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Nelson Mandela holds a conversation with Wesley Snipes at his official residence, Genadendal, while he was President of South Africa.

6 of 14 THEMBA HADEBE/AFP/GettyImages

Harry Belafonte and his wife pose with Nelson Mandela in Pretoria, South Africa in June 1999.

7 of 14 Dave M. Benett/Getty Images

Leona Lewis sits with Nelson Mandela at the InterContinental Hotel in London to celebrate his 90th birthday in 2008.

8 of 14 STEPHEN JAFFE/AFP/Getty Images

Bill Clinton shakes hands with South African President Nelson Mandela at a reception for African American religious leaders, black college presidents and members of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1998.

9 of 14 ANNA ZIEMINSKI/AFP/GettyImages

Nelson Mandela shares a hug with supermodel Naomi Campbell at his Cape Town home in 1998.

10 of 14 Oryx Media Archive/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Bill Cosby with his wife Camille Cosby visit Nelson Mandela's old prison cell.

11 of 14 AFP/Getty Images

Michael Jackson poses with Nelson Mandela in Kwazulu-Natal on July 20, 1996.

12 of 14 Time Life Pictures/DMI/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

Danny Glover, Nelson Mandela and Harry Belafonte share a moment in 1993.

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First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters Sasha and Malia visit Nelson Mandela at his home in Houghton, South Africa.

14 of 14 Lettie Ferreira

Laila Ali meets Nelson Mandela at the Nelson Mandela Foundation during a trip to Johannesburg.