Pair walk 1 500km for Nelson Mandela

2013-06-19 13:49

Two men who walked 1 500km in a bid to honour former president Nelson Mandela have arrived in Qunu.

The pair, who sat next to Madiba’s gate today, carrying a flag signed by those who supported their initiative – feet4feat – said they hoped to give the flag to Mandela’s grandson, Mandla, so that he could hand it over to the elderly statesman.

Antony Esterhuysen, from Ladysmith, and Darryl Atwell, from Kimberley, looked exhausted as they spoke of their love for Madiba, his love for his people and his sacrifices for this country’s democracy.

“He is such a great man. We wanted to honour him while he is still alive. We want to say thank you to him for bringing us together as a nation. We owe so much to him and we love him a lot,” said Esterhuysen.

Atwell said their journey – a “long walk from Cape Town to Qunu” which started on March 1 – had not been an easy one, but had been worth it.

“We wanted to honour a legend; to bring this flag to him, which symbolises our unity in diversity. We wanted to say to this great legend: ‘We salute you’,” said Atwell.

Esterhuysen said they wanted to thank Mandela while he was alive.

“It’s always very important to honour people while they are still around. Madiba is old and spends a lot of time in hospital, which means he is not going to be around for much longer. That is why we took this journey for him, before it is too late,” he said.

Madiba is spending his 13th day in hospital today where he is being treated for a recurring lung infection.

Esterhuysen said they had met and received assistance from many South Africans along the way.

Also today, City Press witnessed some activity taking place where Madiba’s grave is allegedly situated inside the yard of his Qunu residence.

A truck and two cars were seen near the location and it appeared work was being done on the alleged grave site.

A police helicopter was also seen hovering above the Qunu residence for about 45 minutes before it went away.

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