Durban residents ‘lock into Mandela’ at unusual tribute fence

2013-12-07 00:00

A SOLEMN mood prevailed in Morningside in Durban yesterday as people brought flowers and other items of significance to them, to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela.

A couple of months ago, resident Pat Coetzee got permission from the municipality to use a fence on the corner of Gordon and Florida roads for the Lock into Mandela project. People were encouraged to bring padlocks and hang them on the fence.

With the death of Mandela on Thursday evening, this became even more relevant for residents who wanted to show their respect for Madiba.

They came in numbers to lay flowers and other personal items along the fence.

A small white vest with the writing, “You gave us life, told us how to live. I love you,” showed the appreciation of the donor.

Coetzee himself placed his scarf in the South African flag colours on the fence. He said Mandela’s life needed to be celebrated. “If it wasn’t for him, we would not be here now,” said Coetzee, who was joined by his wife Sha, and their daughters Hannah, Chloe and Gabi.

Nancy Nangle, another resident, said, “Madiba was a noble. And we need to celebrate his life. Without him, we would not be here as the country.”

While placing his flowers near the Madiba legacy fence, Faizel Adam said people are now living in the greatest country in the world because of Mandela. “We have lost the greatest legend that the world has even seen.”

The eThekwini Municipality placed a condolence book at the Durban City Hall and people lined up throughout the day to sign it.

Mandela was given the Freedom of the City in 1999.

Mayor James Nxumalo said the people of Durban have a special relationship with Mandela. “Tata cast his vote in the home of the founding president of the ANC, Dr Langalibalele Dube. And this was a very significant gesture to us in the city, making our beloved Inanda the birthplace of democracy,” said Nxumalo.

He said, “Madiba is the embodiment of peace, love and democracy, whose life has inspired generations throughout the world. And we will continue to walk on his footsteps.”

Religious and interfaith groups will hold a prayer memorial for Mandela at the Durban City Hall at a time to be announced. Municipal spokesperson Thabo Mofokeng said their programme to honour Mandela will be announced tomorrow.

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