Madiba an ‘extraordinary neighbour’

2013-06-29 11:03

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The family that lives opposite former president Nelson Mandela’s house in Houghton has described their relationship with him as extraordinary.

“Neighbours in South Africa do not even talk to each other,” said the Mammens, who brought flowers to Mandela’s house yesterday. But in their case, Mandela has invited them to tea.

They were neighbours for 12 years and had met with Mandela five or six times before. The last time was in 2010 over tea, during the World Cup, and Mandela had been happy.

“He was very sharp, full of energy,” said Mr Mammen.

His son, Shane (13), said Mandela had been kind during the visit: “He listened to what I was saying.”

The Mammens gave the flowers to the security guards at the house and walked back home. The family said they wanted to say to Mandela: “We love you, may God be with you, and get well soon.”

Mammen said the only other family member he had met was Mandela’s grandson, Mandla Mandela.

The Davids family drove from Benoni to Houghton with their two daughters to put teddy bears and cards in front of Mandela’s house.

“We wish you well and a speedy recovery. May your stay in hospital be peaceful and painless,” read one of the cards.

Spirit Sundae presenter Nadine Naidoo also came to show her support.

“It’s an honour to be able to be here,” said Naidoo.

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