Long walk to pay Madiba tribute

By Drum Digital
06 December 2013

Numerous people converged at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Friday afternoon to pay their condolences following the death of former president Nelson Mandela.

A long queue had formed outside the main entrance, of people who wanted to write their messages in a book of condolences placed on a small table inside.

Unemployed Trevor Bika said he walked for more than 20 kilometres from Mamelodi East to express his condolences.

"I felt a strong desire to come here, where Madiba used to have an office while he was president, to pay my homage to a great man," said the father of four.

"The old man has left us a huge responsibility, which is to inculcate into our children the values of ubuntu. Africa and the world have lost a great son."

Former Belgian ambassador to South Africa Jan Mutton also arrived at the Union Buildings with a bunch of flowers.

"I had the privilege of working with former president Mandela during my years in diplomatic career. Working with him has made such an impact in me," said Mutton.

"He was a very generous and friendly person... We are here to remember an exceptional life. His influence will live on."

A row of candles was lit near the Union Building's entrance. Several buses brought tourists.

Numerous children were also there, some pasted pictures on the vast walls.

Thabisa Qaqane said that, moving forward, South Africa should bury the ghosts of hatred and oppression.

"That is what Madiba wants. A non-racial society is very possible if we work together. Madiba's death has caused us so much pain," she said.

-by Sapa

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