Madiba’s death: SA prepares for first commemoration

2014-11-27 14:59

The commemoration of the first anniversary of the death of former president Nelson Mandela will start with a wreath laying ceremony at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on December 5.

“Veterans of the struggle for freedom and those who fought side by side with Madiba against apartheid will be invited to lead the wreath laying,” Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini told journalists in Cape Town today.

“This ceremony will be open to all South Africans and members of the public are invited also to visit the site throughout the day to lay wreaths.”

The wreath laying will start at 8am.

President Jacob Zuma will be in China for a state visit on December 5.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was expected to attend and address the official commemoration ceremony at Freedom Park in Pretoria later in the day on December 5.

Government would also be encouraging schools, factories, and places of worship to ring their bells and sirens at exactly three minutes and seven seconds before 10am to “call the country to attention”.

South Africans would be asked to observe a moment of silence up to 10.03am.

“You will notice that the time lapse from the ringing of the bells to the end of the moment of silence is six minutes, seven seconds. This is symbolic of the 67 years Madiba spent in the service of humanity,” said Dlamini.

“The moment of silence will be broken by the singing of the National Anthem at 10h03 across the country and anywhere that South Africans will be gathered.”

Citizens were also urged to participate in the social media campaign and share their memories of Madiba using the hashtag “RememberMandela”.

“This will include a ‘where were you?’ social media campaign through which South Africans will be invited to share where they were and how they felt during the key milestones of Madiba’s life, including, for example his arrest in 1964, his release from prison in 1990, and his inauguration as the first democratically elected president of the country,” said Dlamini.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation would also be organising several commemorative events.

This would include an art exhibition at the Nelson Mandela Centre for Memory in Houghton.

On display would be the gun carriage which transported Madiba’s coffin, teddy bears, and other items people placed outside his Houghton home in Johannesburg when he was ill, and after he died.

The Springboks are set to take on the Proteas in a cricket match at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on December 5, signifying Madiba’s belief that sport could bring people together more than politics.

Several other events were planned in the days following the official commemoration.

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