‘Madiba won’t get our messages but we love him’

2013-06-27 16:58

The lawn outside Nelson Mandela’s Houghton home has been transformed into a playground, as scores of children and South Africans flocked to the former president’s home to wish him a speedy recovery.

By late this afternoon, a tree outside Mandela’s gate was adorned with flowers and messages like “You gave us Freedom. We love you” and “Thank you for what you have done for the people of SA”.

Many children wrote messages on rocks, which are placed in flower beds designed for this purpose on the sidewalk outside Mandela’s home.

Curious parents and older South Africans also snapped photographs of the large contingent of foreign and local journalists camped outside the house.

Earlier in the day, Mpho Masemola, of the Ex-Political Prisoners Association, arrived to visit with the Mandela family and to wish the former president well.

“We love and cherish the long years of his leadership, guidance and wisdom on Robben Island,” said Masemola, who said Mandela was a father figure to many on the island.

Nono Ditshego (11) said she had written “Get well soon” on a stone because she felt “Nelson Mandela was an inspiration”.

“He helped our country in so many ways,” she said.

Brett Powell, also 11 years old, said he was learning about Mandela at school and had today watched the video of the iconic moment Mandela walked on to the field after the Springboks won the Rugby World Cup in 1995.

“We wanted to come and see his house and pay our respects to him. He was a freedom fighter for SA.”

Nomthy Tshuma (35) said she knew Mandela wouldn’t get the messages she left, but it’s “just to show him we love him and that we are so sad he is sick”.

Earlier in the day, six metro police officers arrived at the house and moved the media off the pavement outside Mandela’s home, but left about 40 minutes later.

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