Qunu fondly remembers its ‘brave warrior’

2013-12-06 12:58

Former president Nelson Mandela “would call young and old to his home and spend time with his people”.

This is how Qunu resident Nokuzola Tetani remembers the former statesman who died last night.

Tetani, also the marketing and communications manager at the Nelson Mandela Museum, said South Africa and the world had “lost a global icon and a giant of our times”.

“He has taught us so much, we cannot imagine life without him,” Tetani said.

She said Mandela would be sorely missed. “Whenever he was around you could feel his presence?...?He loved his people and they loved him,” she said.

Heavily armed soldiers, police and traffic officers were stationed outside Mandela’s home in Qunu from the early hours of this morning.

Eastern Cape social development MEC Pemmy Majodina was the first high-profile figure and provincial government member to visit Mandela’s home today.

Majodina said Premier Noxolo Kiviet would give the “marching orders” this afternoon on the role to be played by the province on where Mandela would be laid to rest.

“We have mixed feelings about his passing because of the nature and calibre of the man who was Nelson Mandela. His was a life well lived,” Majodina said.

She said the revered statesman taught South Africa the true values of ubuntu.

“The people in our department are the first in and the last out in situations like these. We are here to lend our support to all who need it and to salute our Isithwalandwe (brave warrior) by being there for others the way he thought of us all,” Majodina said.

By 10am, people had started flocking to Mandela’s home, laying flowers outside the gates and stopping to take pictures.

Motorists driving on the N2 between Mthatha and East London hooted at one another in a gesture of solidarity.

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