Empty seats at Pretoria Mandela viewing venue

By Drum Digital
15 December 2013

The Lucas Moripe stadium in Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria, where the funeral of former ex Nelson Mandela was being screened, was virtually empty this morning.

The Lucas Moripe stadium in Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria, where the funeral of former president Nelson Mandela was being screened, was virtually empty on Sunday morning.

The stadium was one of the venues across the country where people could watch live footage of the funeral of Mandela in Qunu in the Eastern Cape.

The elderly statesman died at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, on Thursday, December 5 at the age of 95.

Two diplomatic cars, two ambulances, and several police cars were parked at the stadium.

A group of Gauteng traffic police officers stood in a circle receiving orders from their seniors.

In the stadium two giant screens were showing proceedings in Qunu.

Noah Maile, of the Siyahlala informal settlement in Atteridgeville, said he only came to the stadium because there was no electricity in the informal settlement.

"Electricity has been connected to our houses but there is no power. It has been like this for four years. I only came here to follow the proceedings because I do not have electricity," he said.

He brought his nephew, Tumelo, along. The few people present occupied the upper level on the western side to avoid the sun.

"I do not think people will come here. They are watching it from the comfort of their homes."

He was however impressed that television pictures showed dusty streets in the former president's rural home.

"The streets are dusty. Mandela was honest. He could have used his power to channel development at his home village... He knew about conditions back home and allowed development programmes to follow," he said.

Two women dressed in the green and black uniform of the ANC Women's League stood as the national anthem was sung in Qunu.

-by Sapa

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