‘Our Winnie’ creates a buzz in Vilakazi Street

2014-05-08 09:40

Team City Press was out in full force on election day. Thuletho Zwane was in iconic Vilakazi Street, Soweto, which was strangely quiet.

A deafening silence filled the air in Vilakazi Street yesterday afternoon.

There was no excitement, no buzz – just a bland normalcy that could fool you into thinking it was another ordinary day. There was no sea of red berets and T-shirts or the vibrant blue associated with the DA. Yellow ANC T-shirts were limited to the ANC stand outside the IEC voting station.

There was no traffic entering and exiting Orlando West Secondary School. Two, or at most, three people would enter the school to cast their votes. Most of the cars there were media cars – all waiting patiently for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

The first signal of her arrival was of a cameraman sprinting to be the first in line to take the sure-to-be-iconic-picture of Nelson Mandela’s former wife.

Dressed in black from head to toe, she was not going to “take interviews because she was still in mourning” after Nelson Mandela’s death in December, said Joburg mayor Parks Tau.

“We love you, Winnie,” screamed a woman who said she had been waiting for Madikizela-Mandela since 7.30am.

“You are our mother,” screamed another.

“You photographers just come here, step on all of us for a picture? This is our Winnie,” they said.

But their words fell on deaf ears.

The crowd of about 50 people was told that Madikizela-Mandela was on her way to Bekkersdal, which has been the scene of several violent protests in the past few months.

Madikizela-Mandela and her convoy left Vilakazi street and the crowd departed.

The monotony of the day ensued.

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