Holiday best way to commemorate Madiba

By Drum Digital
17 December 2013

Nine in 10 young South Africans believe the best way to celebrate Nelson Mandela's life would be with a public holiday.

Nine in 10 young South Africans believe the best way to celebrate Nelson Mandela's life would be with a public holiday, a survey revealed on Tuesday.

"It's been incredible to see such an outpouring of gratitude and affection from the youth of South Africa," said Shirley Wakefield, CEO of market research company Pondering Panda, which conducted the survey.

"Even those who were born after 1994 and were too young to remember his presidency, feel they have a strong connection with him and what he stood for."

A total of 11,270 people aged between 13 and 34 were surveyed across the country immediately after Mandela's death through social networking site Mxit.

Fifty-seven percent of them said Mandela would be best remembered for making the country free and democratic, 16 percent said he would be most remembered for helping end apartheid, while 14 percent said being a role model would be his biggest legacy.

"It's also clear that Mandela was strongly associated with South Africa's progress as a country, and as we transition into a new chapter without him, many young people are uncertain about what the future will hold," said Wakefield.

Around 48 percent of respondents believed the country would get worse without him, 23 percent believed his death would not change anything, and 11 percent believed things would get better for South Africa. Eighteen percent were unsure what the future would hold.

Twenty-one percent of those surveyed said they were afraid Mandela's death could ignite renewed violence in South Africa.

Respondents were asked what they would do to make Mandela proud if they were president for a day. Improving education was top of the list, followed by fixing unemployment, ending racism, supplying housing, and firing corrupt politicians.

"It's now up to our current political leaders to provide the strong leadership that we so need, and show that they can uphold Madiba's philosophies and restore the faith and hope of young people in South Africa's future," said Wakefield.

-by Sapa

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