Jacob Zuma cheered in Cape Town

2013-12-10 18:07

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While President Jacob Zuma was booed by sections of the Joburg crowd during the official memorial for former president Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium, the few hundred gathered on the Grand Parade in Cape Town clapped and cheered as he came forward to begin his speech.

Numerous South African flags were waved by Capetonians watching proceedings. One ANC flag was to be seen, while a sum total of four men wearing the Economic Freedom Fighters’ signature red berets stood a few metres away.

The ANC flag bearer, Malungelo Nhose, from Khayelitsha, said the booing of Zuma was “unfortunate” and it was “embarrassing” that it was broadcast to an international audience.

But he said those doing the booing obviously did so because they had no other platform to express their frustrations, so they took their opportunities where they could get them.

Of Zuma’s speech, Nhose said it was “disappointing”. “He didn’t give hope, he didn’t speak to the future, only the past,” he said.

As official proceedings in the rain at Joburg’s FNB Stadium were broadcast over big screens situated outside the Cape Town City Hall, knots of Capetonians stood in the shade of the palm trees and watched as heads of state delivered their tributes 1 400km and an entirely different climate away.

Two men from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) who watched proceedings, but did not want to be named, said Mandela had made South Africa a country they could seek refuge in, away from the violence and uncertainty in their home country.

“Without him we wouldn’t have been able to experience this freedom,” said one of the DRC nationals, “to be able to stand here without worrying what is going to happen”.

He said leaders in the DRC needed to “use their heads” like Mandela did and put an end to the violence.

“We need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission there, if not it [the violence] will still be the same in 100 years.”

The crowd at the Grand Parade was slowly swelling from a few hundred to almost one thousand as the first musical acts billed for the afternoon got under way, with expectations of many more joining in to party to headline act Jimmy Dludlu at around 6pm.

The 53 000 coupons made available to the public for tomorrow’s Mandela memorial concert at the Cape Town Stadium where Ladysmith Black Mambazo, among other top acts, are being billed to play, had all been snapped up by 10am this morning.

Many Capetonians were angry at themselves for not getting in on the act sooner and the event is expected to be Cape Town’s answer to today’s memorial at the FNB Stadium, only with more celebration and less pomp.

- West Cape News

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