Tata would have liked us to be there, says Qunu neighbour

2013-12-15 11:31

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Nolukholo Tyingwa, who lived next door to former Nelson Mandela in Qunu, says she’s heartbroken because she’s been forced to watch Mandela’s funeral on television.

Tyingwa, who knew Madiba personally and has to walk less than three minutes to get to his gate, says she still can’t believe that she is being excluded from attending the funeral of a man who loved and cherished her family.

When City Press walked into her rondavel this morning, Tyingwa was watching the funeral proceedings on SABC2.

“They said we shouldn’t come in because the funeral is for important guests from faraway places. They have been saying it over and over again. You can see for yourself, there are no people from Qunu there,” she said.

“It pains us, Tata would have liked us to be there. He would come here and encourage us to go to school. When Tata was healthy he would walk around the neighbourhood, checking how all of us were doing.”

Other Qunu residents stood alongside the Mandela home, trying to see what was happening there.

Officials from the navy and military kept a watchful eye on them.

Xolani Majija, another neighbour, was equally unhappy.

“What they are doing is very wrong. They should have allowed us to bury him. A funeral is a community affair. Everyone here is angry. How do you exclude your neighbours but give access to people from as far as Durban?” Majija asked.

Majija said Madiba’s yard was big enough to accommodate almost all of his neighbours.

“They didn’t even show us the body. They are playing dirty politics.”

Nolundi Tyopho, another angry neighbour who has also been forced to watch the funeral on television, said Madiba had come to her house and had tea with her.

“He would walk past, come around to greet us and hug our children. It’s such a sad story, we are very unhappy. But we have no choice, we have to watch from the television.”

Officials have arranged a public viewing area not far from Madiba’s home but residents have shunned it as a sign of protest.

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