South African and Boston journalist Rory O’Connor recalls Nelson Mandela dancing with Ray Flynn

From left: Edward M. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, and Ray Flynn in 1990.
From left: Edward M. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, and Ray Flynn in 1990.Barry Chin/Globe staff/file 1990

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Like so many, documentary filmmaker Rory O’Connor was saddened by the news of Nelson Mandela’s death Thursday night. But the onetime Boston and South African journalist, former editor of the Real Paper and co-director of a little-seen film called “Mandela in America,” also had one memory that made him smile: The indelible image from June 23, 1990, of Mandela onstage at the Hatch Shell on Boston’s Esplanade flanked by Senator Edward M. Kennedy and Mayor Ray Flynn.

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