‘We are here because of him’

2013-12-16 00:00

MORE than 2 000 people visited the Mandela Capture Site outside Howick to pay their respects to former president Nelson Mandela, on the day of his funeral.

Wearing ANC colours and a skirt made from fabric bearing Mandela’s image, Duduzile Gwamanda from Howick — whose husband Bonga, was incarcerated on Robben Island with Mandela — said she felt compelled to come to the site of his arrest on August 5, 1962.

“I couldn’t go to Qunu … but we live nearby in Howick. He means a lot to me … we are here because of him.”

Her friend Thandi Khumalo from Pietermaritzburg was sad she couldn’t pay her last respects in person in Qunu.

“We watched the funeral on television, but it wasn’t the same,” she added. “We have lost a man of peace, a man of truth, a man of integrity.”

Lisa Ladner of Pietermaritzburg, who brought flowers to the capture site, echoed those sentiments, saying, “I can’t imagine the world being without him. He was a man of strength, character and integrity.”

Another visitor, Odwa Mazwai from Johannesburg, said that over the past week he had learned many things he didn’t know about Mandela, which had only increased his respect for the former president.

“The man was simply inspirational,” he added.

An emotional Sajitha Maharaj from Pietermaritzburg, who had watched the funeral at home before travelling to Howick, said she wanted to teach her daughter about the history of the country and about Mandela, whom she described as an “icon in the world”.

During the funeral broadcast, hardly any residents made use of the public viewing areas set up by the council in Pietermaritzburg.

In Alexandra Park, officers from the South African Police Service, the Msunduzi traffic department and the fire department, municipal security personnel and a private ambulance crew outnumbered the mourners by about four to one.

Among those who watched the service in Alexandra Park was Nontsindiso Madikizela from Burger Street. She has no television at home but was determined to watch the funeral of a man she described as “very special”.

Another mourner, 19-year-old Yaseen Zondi from Edendale, said that while it was a sad day, all South Africans needed to honour Mandela by practising what he preached. “We need to give respect to one another,” he added.

Hundreds of Durban mourners attended a giant screen viewing of the late president’s funeral at People’s Park, Moses Mabhida Stadium, to pay their last respects yesterday.

Families with picnic baskets sat on the manicured gardens while those who had stayed at the park for the Madiba night vigil rested under the two large white marquees erected.

On Saturday evening, a few hundred people gathered at People’s Park for a night vigil.

Imke Summers and Ingrid Cockburn, from Pietermaritzburg and Greytown respectively, said they felt the need to attend the service “to pay their respects”.

“We were en route to Pietermaritzburg and decided that we would miss the ceremony if we kept on driving and that this was the closest we would get to Mandela’s funeral,” said Summers.

London-based Lola Oliyide said “she wanted to be with the people” and mourn collectively.

Keith Farr said the world will never see an event of this magnitude again and the media coverage, which has dominated the news landscape for 10 days globally, was warranted.

On Saturday, the Chatsworth Youth Centre, which was opened by Mandela over a decade ago, held a special memorial at which Finance Minster Pravin Gordhan said, via a Skype uplink, Mandela had great humility and respected everyone. “Without the ANC, Mandela would not have become the leader he became.”

Indian freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi’s granddaughter Ela Gandhi, in a cracking voice, said his ideal of a “common nation” must inspire us.

Leader of Greenpeace Kumi Naidoo said Mandela protested against the notion of “servants and masters”.

Social activist Jay Naidoo said there is a “stain on our democracy despite the South African miracle”.

“We need to find the Mandela in our hearts. We must reconnect with people. We weep that there is not a moral leader in the world to replace Mandela. We must reclaim his legacy — this democracy belongs to the people,” he said.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.