Durban plans tributes to Mandela

2013-12-06 08:37

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The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal will hold a prayer memorial for former president Nelson Mandela at the Durban City Hall later today.

The provincial government will also announce its official programme of mourning, understood to consist of events over up to three weeks, this afternoon.

The eThekwini Municipality is also set to open a condolences book at the Durban City Hall this afternoon to let ordinary citizens – who are still going about their daily business in the city – have an opportunity to mourn the passing of the icon and celebrate his life.

ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said Mandela had left “indelible footprints’’, not only around the globe, but also on the political landscape of the province, in which many of the political milestones in his lifelong struggle took place.

“The inspirational story of Mandela’s journey to freedom cannot be told without the province of KwaZulu-Natal where some of the most notable events in his life unfolded,’’ Zikalala said.

Zikalala referred to Mandela’s arrest at Howick in 1962 – after which he was sentenced to life imprisonment – which took place on August 5 just after he had addressed an ANC meeting at Imbali near Pietermaritzburg after returning from Algeria where he had undergone military training.

Mandela, he said, cast his historic vote in the first democratic elections in 1994 at Ohlange, Inanda, north of Durban.

This was the home of the first president of the ANC, Dr Langalibalele Dube, in “a gesture that carried a huge symbolism for the gallant fighter who unstintingly dedicated all his life to the liberation of his people”, Zikalala said.

Zikalala said Mandela would be remembered in KwaZulu-Natal for the role he played in ending political violence.

IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi said Mandela’s death was “a loss to us all”.

“So many knew and loved him and so many loved him never having even met. There will surely be many tears shed in the coming days in all corners of our country and across the world,’’ Buthelezi said.

“He was a life-long friend, an inspired leader and a man of complex character.”

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