KZN die-hard fans brave rain for Mandela

2013-12-10 19:14
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Durban - A handful of hardy fans of former president Nelson Mandela braved the rain in Umlazi, Durban, to watch live coverage of his memorial service from Johannesburg on Tuesday.

Paul Goge and his 12-year-old daughter huddled under their blue and pink umbrellas in the driving rain to catch every word of the tributes to South Africa's first democratically-elected president.

"Nelson Mandela was someone who made a difference in all our lives teaching us to be tolerant and forgiving," Goge said.

His wife and 5-year-old son had retreated to the comfort of their car, but Goge and his daughter were determined to experience the memorial, even though they could not attend the service at FNB Stadium, in Soweto.

He said that over a hundred people had been at the field next to King Zwelithini Stadium to watch US President Barack Obama's tribute to Mandela, but that they left when the heavens opened.

"I think [Obama's] speech was so powerful. He got us emotional, people were clapping their hands, it was amazing," Goge said.

He recalled the moment he learned of Mandela's death.

"At 05:00 on Friday, the morning after he died, one of my cousins sent me a Whatsapp message.

"It was shocking, and for one minute I didn't believe she was telling the truth, until I heard it on the radio.

"I thought it was end of the world," Goge said.

He believed South Africa would "carry on together nicely" because of Mandela's legacy.

Three other people could be seen sheltering under trees to watch the big screen images broadcast from the memorial service. One wore a yellow plastic bag on his head in an attempt to keep dry.

Gathering for the service

Earlier, workers packed into the gardens of the Durban City Hall to watch television feeds of the memorial service.

The municipality provided hundreds of chairs for the crowds which turned up to watch the event under low grey clouds that threatened rain.

The groups watched intently, talking among themselves, but there was neither cheering nor booing, such as that heard at the FNB Stadium.

People from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, both men and women, were calmly attentive as Obama delivered his tribute to the international icon.

At the stadium in Johannesburg earlier, President Jacob Zuma was repeatedly booed each time his image was shown on a large screen.

Obama was welcomed shortly before 13:00 with a sustained shout of joy by the crowd.

However, the second the picture on the screen changed to that of Zuma, the crowd began an equally passionate boo.

Friends, colleagues, comrades and family of Nelson Mandela are invited to share their memories and tributes, and to light a candle for him, on his profile at

- Share your memories of Nelson Mandela with us.
Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  jacob zuma  |  barack obama  |  durban

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