Gran's dancing brings relief for mourners

2013-12-06 11:45
People gather outside Mandela's house - Soweto. (Maki/SAPA)

People gather outside Mandela's house - Soweto. (Maki/SAPA)

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Johannesburg - A 70-year-old grandmother brought some relief to mourners at Nelson Mandela's old house in Vilakazi Street, Soweto, on Friday.

Ernestina Matshaka danced like a youngster to a freedom song about Mandela.

"As Africans when we are happy, depressed or mourning we sing. Singing relieves us," she said.

"I am relieved that Madiba passed. It was unfair to expect him to jump out of his sick bed and run around like a boy."

Matshaka said she would be very happy if South Africans could remain calm at this time and respect the legacy Mandela left. The crowd of young and old were energised by Matshaka, dancing and singing with abandon.

Police officers in about 10 vehicles kept watch.

Mandela died in his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, around 20:50 on Thursday.


Candles were lit and roses placed in front of the house in Vilakazi Street that was closed to traffic.

An old man kept lighting the candles the wind blew out. Throughout the night, people passed by the house to take pictures and leave messages of support.

Ofentse Nakedi, from Rockville, decided to visit the home and leave a message before going to work.

"I am very sad. My heart goes out to the Mandela family," she said with tears in her eyes.

She said she hoped leaving a message would make her feel better.

"I just wanted to come to his home... it's out of my way. I work in Cresta, but I don't mind."

Nakedi said when death struck, it was custom to visit the family.

"Unfortunately here you can't really go in and say a prayer so I think leaving a message is the least we can do."

Security guards at the house set up a large whiteboard for the public to write messages on.

People, who had been singing, fell silent when a car playing Johnny Clegg's song "Asimbonanga", isiZulu for "We have not seen him" passed by.

- Share your memories of Nelson Mandela with us.

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