Guests say: ‘His teachings were revisited’

2013-12-16 00:00

YESTERDAY, guests told The Witness of the emotional experience at the historic state funeral:

• Zolani Mkiva, former

official praise singer of Mandela, said the funeral was “an emotional affair” for him.

“What consoled me is the love shown by the people of the world and all South Africans.

“Personally, I have accepted that he is no more. Madiba was truly blessed. He did not sacrifice in vain. His sacrifice turned out to be great. He saw what he sacrificed for and saw it grow through his own eyes until he rested in peace. I am sure he is content where he is now,” Mkiva said.

“I was talking from my heart. I am happy that I was brave enough to be able to stand up to the emotions that were overpowering me and be able to salute him in the way he has known,” Mkiva said.

• Sihle Zikalala, ANC KZN provincial secretary said the funeral was done in a respectful, dignified way befitting the role Mandela had played.

“I was alive when he was taken in a coffin to his final resting place and then realised the man who worked for the ANC for 50 years was no more. But the way it was done gave me comfort as he was bid farewell in a dignified manner.”

Zikalala said for him, highlights were seeing the remaining Rivonia trialists, Ahmed Kathrada and Andrew Mlangeni, as well as former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda, at the funeral.

“The way Kathrada spoke about him showed that they had strong connections. Kenneth Kaunda spoke about the need to love your neighbour as you love yourself — that is what Madiba stood for, that is what he taught us in the liberation.”

• Xhanti Sigcawu, Ama­Xhosa prince, said the funeral was tense, as was always the case whenever someone was to be taken to his or her final resting place. It also revisited some of Mandela’s teachings.

“It was tense in the reality that when someone you loved or admired is taken away you begin to feel. It becomes real. I think Graça Machel felt it most, as her partner was taken away,” Sigcawu said.

“It also took me down memory lane. His teachings were revisited. Madiba would always say: ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself, regardless of skin colour; there is nobody above another; we can’t discriminate against one another.’

“We were taken back to his teachings, many of which have been forgotten,” he said.

Sigcawu also said he felt that Madiba’s lawyer George Bizos and Kathrada were grieving.

“He [Bizos] was okay, but you could see that those who spent an intimate time with him were really hurt. Their tears were within his reach. It was not easy for Ahmed Kathrada. You could see that tears were close to falling. He was really touched by the send-off,” Sigcawu added.

• Eastern Cape Local Government MEC Mlibo Qhoboshiyane said the speech by Malawian President Joyce Banda when she referred to trials and tribulations in her life showed how leaders should show humility at all times.

Referring to Kathrada, he said, “It was an emotional moment for him that may have a knock-on effect.

“His narration was moving and showed the bond that was there among the leaders of the struggle.”

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