South Africans pay tribute to Mandela

2013-12-06 10:14
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Newspaper headlines: Mandela tributes dominate

The death of former president Nelson Mandela has dominated the local newspaper scene. See special Nelson Mandela front pages here.

Johannesburg - Messages of support continued to pour in on Friday morning as people woke up to the news that former president Nelson Mandela had died.

National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu, the son of one of Mandela's best friends Walter Sisulu, said a pall hung over Parliament.

"[A] real pain chills all who work in [Parliament's] precinct," he said in a statement.

"It is a pain we share with millions of people throughout our land, our continent Africa, and beyond."

He said a special joint sitting of both houses of Parliament would be held soon to reflect on Mandela's life and legacy. A book of condolences would also be opened for messages of support by MPs and the public.

'Infectious smile'

Mandela's former personal assistant Zelda la Grange said it made her sad to think she would never walk into a room again and see his "generous infectious smile".

"I have come to terms with the fact that Madiba's legacy is not dependent on his presence," she said in a statement.

"His legacy will not only live on in everything that has been named after him, the books, the images, the movies. It will live on in how we feel when we hear his name, the respect and love, the unity he inspired in us as a country, but particularly how we relate to one another."

President Jacob Zuma broke the news of Mandela's death on television on Thursday night, saying the Nobel laureate died peacefully at his home in Johannesburg at about 20:50, surrounded by family.

"He is now resting," said Zuma.

Flags around the country would be flown at half-mast from Friday until after his funeral.

Paying respects

People continued to flock to Mandela's Houghton home and his old house in Vilakazi Street in Soweto on Friday morning.

Both sites saw a flurry of activity with people arriving to pay their respects.

People lit candles and placed flags and portraits of him on the pavement outside the Houghton house. A cloth bearing his face was laid on the tarmac and a group of women formed a circle around it and sang gospel songs.

People also formed a large prayer ring for Mandela.

In Vilakazi Street people marched up and down the street and around the block singing songs praising him and the role he played in the struggle against apartheid.

The African Union mourned the passing of a "pan-African icon" ordering its flags to fly at half-mast.

Cape Town Archbishop Emeritus Njongonkulu Ndungane, Methodist Church presiding Bishop Ziphozihle Siwa, the Dalai Lama, the SA Union for Progressive Judaism (SAUPJ) and the SA Association of Progressive Rabbis were among some of the religious groups to send messages of condolences to the Mandela family.

- 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

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