South Africans remember Madiba

By Drum Digital
09 December 2013

From candles, photographs and condolence cards, to counselling and concerts, South Africans sought ways on Monday to hold onto some "Madiba Magic".

Scores of people queued outside Parliament for seats at Monday's special joint sitting in honour of former president Nelson Mandela.

In the parliamentary precinct, several buildings, including the National Assembly building, were draped with massive banners in tribute to Mandela.

Recordings of Mandela's speeches he made in the House while president from 1994 to 1999 reverberated through the precinct, the sound coming from speakers and a big screen erected outside the building.

MPs, each carrying a single red rose, wrote messages of condolence on a canvas. Children came with their parents to remember Mandela.

Primary school pupil Kauthar Adams said some of her history lessons in school had centred on Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi this year.

"When it was apartheid, I wasn't born, but I would like to see what Mandela went through in that time and how it was on Robben Island," she said.

"He went through lots of stuff in apartheid and I'd just like to know why did he fight for justice and why did he want everyone's life to be the same?"

The State Theatre in Pretoria announced it would stage a performance in Mandela's honour on Wednesday, including sets by a number of musicians and dancers, and excerpts from the play "The Rivonia Trial".

"Every performance will focus on capturing the current mood of the people, which is reflective, celebratory, honouring and humanising," co-artistic director of the event Sibongile Khumalo said in a statement.

In Cape Town, the provincial government said it would display a laser projection of Mandela's face on Table Mountain until December 16.

The Gauteng government tweeted that those struggling with Mandela's death could contact the premier's hotline for access to counselling.

"The passing of #tatamadiba has been traumatic and GPG has arranged trauma counseling", read the tweet.

Crowds of people continued to gather at Mandela's home in Houghton, Johannesburg, where he died on Thursday, and at the house in Vilakazi Street, Soweto, where he used to live, and which has since been turned into a museum.

"It was such a blessing seeing the thousands of people coming to pay their respects to Tata," said Xolani Khoba, who lives in a street away from the house.

Visitors also gathered at Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton to have their pictures taken next to the six metre tall statue of the former president and to leave messages, flowers and pictures.

In Cape Town, the Robben Island museum said it had a candle burning inside the prison cell number five, where Mandela spent 18 years of his imprisonment.

It invited the public to place flowers in the quarry where Mandela and other political prisoners used to break rock.

In Qunu, military and police were seen around Mandela's home as preparations were made for his state funeral on Sunday.

The Abathembu royal house, from KwaZulu-Natal, visited the Mandela family in Mvezo on Monday to celebrate Mandela's life.

"We are mourning the death of our icon and leader, [while] on the other hand we are celebrating his life," Abathembu chief Khulekani Walter Mkhulisa said after a prayer service in Mvezo.

Mandela's official memorial service will be held at FNB stadium in Soweto on Tuesday.

-by Sapa


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