Long walk to pay Mandela tribute

2013-12-06 22:57
A banner at the City Hall in Cape Town to remember former president Nelson Mandela. (Adiel Ismail, Fin24)

A banner at the City Hall in Cape Town to remember former president Nelson Mandela. (Adiel Ismail, Fin24)

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Nelson Mandela Timeline

2013-12-06 01:00

See a timeline of Nelson Mandela's life. VIEW

Pretoria - Hundreds of people streamed to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Friday evening to sign a book of condolences following the death of former president Nelson Mandela.

Several police officers were deployed at its two main entrances on Government Avenue, restricting the flow of traffic.

Security guard Isaac Bonolo said he had spent the day trying to find an opportunity to visit the Union Buildings and sign the condolences book.

"I did not work well today. My heart was here. Life in South Africa will not be the same without a father figure like Tata. Who are we going to look up to?" Bonolo asked.

"Mandela was the inspiration for all South Africans, black and white. To Madiba, I just wish the old man well."

A queue of people waiting to write a message in the book of condolences snaked out of the Union Buildings' main entrance. The book was on a small table inside.

Unemployed father of four, Trevor Bika, said he walked for more than 20km from Mamelodi East to convey 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," he said.

"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 arrived at the Union Buildings with a bunch of flowers.

"I had the privilege of working with former president Mandela during my... 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 Buildings' entrance. Several buses brought tourists.

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

Michelle and Destiny Jaramba's mother led them in laying flowers and messages of condolence.

Eight-year-old Michelle said she had been saddened by Mandela's death.

"To Nelson Mandela, I will miss you dearly. I want to follow in your footsteps," she said.

- Share your memories of Nelson Mandela with us.

- Friends, colleagues, comrades and family of Nelson Mandela are invited to share their memories and tributes, and to light a candle for him, on his profile at Remembered.co.za.

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