‘He’ll never ask for a blanket again’

2013-12-15 14:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

It was in the early hours of the morning, driving on empty roads, that Corporal Thando Mangxangaza finally realised his “grandfather”, Nelson Mandela, was never coming back.

Mangxangaza is an operational medical orderly who was part of the presidential medical unit in charge of Mandela’s medical care for 24 hours a day for the past three years.

As part of the “Charlie Team”, he was with doctors, nurses and specialists who were at Mandela’s side when he died last Thursday.

“The night before we took him to the Union Buildings for the first time, I couldn’t sleep, because I had the keys of the hearse in my pocket.

I was so worried that I might oversleep and Tata would be late.”

Mandla Mandela, Mandela’s grandson who guarded the coffin every day, drove with him every time.

“Then I remained quiet out of respect, because Chief Mandla was talking softly to Tata, and then I also spoke to him in my head. We had so many good times in Qunu,” he said.

“Tata was in Qunu for the last time two years ago and he was already very weak. He sat in his chair at the upstairs window of his house and liked to look at the cattle. It was amazing, because within a week he was full of new life. He was so happy there.

“He also kept making jokes. One day he had to look at the actors who would be in the film of Long Walk to Freedom.

“He called me and showed me a picture of Terry Pheto [who plays Mandela’s first wife, Evelyn].

“‘It’s pretty girls like this who make men polygamists’, he quipped.”

But now the laughter has faded and Mangxangaza is trying to come to terms with life after Madiba’s passing.

“When Chief Mandla drove to Pretoria with Tata the other night, the air conditioning was on.

“I started thinking Tata would soon be saying it’s getting too cold and he wanted a blanket for his legs.

“Then I remembered he would never ask for a blanket again.”

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.