Children light a candle for Mandela

2013-12-07 08:53

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Constitution Hill is the place where a small crowd of children and mourners gathered to pay their respects to the late Nelson Mandela.

He had been held at different sections of the Old Fort prison through the years. His former wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, was also held at the prison in 1958.

The love Madiba had for children was also remembered yesterday as a small group of children from Con Kids led the walk to Mandela’s former holding cell. A large candle was lit to signify the fire that Madiba had lit for democracy.

Constitutional Court Justice Edwin Cameron spoke briefly about the massive figure Mandela was and how he had used the law to fight oppression.

“Mandela sacrificed his life so that you could have a just society. He was a lawyer, but the same law was used by the apartheid government to suppress him and benefit white people like me,” he said.

Madiba had a history of more than 50 years at Constitution Hill. He was detained there numerous times. In 1962, he was the only black man held in the hospital section where the candle of remembrance will burn until his funeral.

Petal Thring, the CEO of Constitution Hill, said Mandela was the only black man held there because the authorities could keep a close eye on him.

“Keeping him in the hospital section was only another way to punish him,” she said.

She added that Madiba’s death was devastating, but it was also frightening because South Africans now had to take up the baton and carry on his legacy.

“We can never let his spirit die. The candle and the fire outside represent the burning spirit that will always be with us,” she added.

The candle was placed on top of a copy of the bill of rights Madiba had signed in 2003 when he visited Constitution Hill, walking alongside his long-time friend, Advocate George Bizos.

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