Madiba’s final moments

2013-12-08 08:12

Johannesburg - Former president Nelson Mandela’s final moments were with close family members. At the time of his death he was not on life support but breathing on his own.

According to the Sunday Times, his wife Graca Machel, his former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, daughter Makaziwe and grandson Mandla had been by his side when he died at his Houghton home in Johannesburg on Thursday night.

His heir, Mandla, had been called to his grandfather’s bedside on Thursday morning from Mvezo in the Eastern Cape. After President Jacob Zuma had been informed of his death, close family friends and politicians gathered at the house.

They included businessman Patrice Motsepe, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapis-Nqakula, and Dali Tambo, son of the late ANC leader Oliver Tambo, among others.

The ANC’s chaplain-general Rev Vukile Mahana, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana of the Ethiopian Episcopal Church and Rev Frank Chikane comforted the family and led them all in prayer. Zuma arrived soon after and made his announcement.

At about midnight, the military arrived to collect Mandela’s body. Director-general in the Presidency Dr Cassius Lubisi oversaw the handover, along with the head of Mandela’s medical team, Dr Zola Dabula and the former South African National Defence Force surgeon-general Vejay Ramlakhan.

Mandela’s body left the house in a casket covered with the South African flag. As he was carried out, Mandla sang out in praise with the words “Aah Dalibunga”.


Mandela, who was elected South Africa's first black president after spending nearly three decades in prison, had been receiving treatment for a lung infection at his Johannesburg home since September, after three months in hospital in a critical state.

His condition deteriorated and he died following complications from the lung infection.

The news was announced by a clearly emotional President Jacob Zuma live on television, who said Mandela had "departed" and was at peace.

"Our nation has lost its greatest son," said Zuma.

"What made Nelson Mandela great is precisely what made him human," he said.

Mandela, once a boxer, had a long history of lung problems after contracting tuberculosis while in jail on Robben Island.

His extraordinary life story, quirky sense of humour and lack of bitterness towards his former oppressors ensured global appeal for the charismatic leader.

  • Patrick Buckley - 2013-12-08 08:29

    Sad as this is, one feels great relief that the indignity of his long suffering has finally ended. We will miss him very much.

      Jenifer Johnstone - 2013-12-08 21:10

      Very true .

  • themba.khoza.14224 - 2013-12-08 08:35

    Surely a sad ending. RIP.

  • Walter Lebzax - 2013-12-08 08:58

    We are all pilgrims here. Rather we sojourn here for a short time and not forever. Want to see where the Pharoahs ruled? Or where the great civilization of the Mayans is? Or the barracks of the great army of Genghis khan? You have to dig six feet under. BecauseThere is no continueing city in this world. It is appointed once for man to live then judgement. It is so even with Nelson Mandela. But we have the assurance and hope in God, who conquered hell, death, and the grave. He lives, and those who belive and trust in him even if they die they shall live again.

  • Grace Hendricks - 2013-12-08 09:10

    God bless you Madiba, go well. You left us a legacy, and we have a tremendous responsibility to uphold it. Your memory will live on forever. RIP.

  • Mnandisi Maxwell Mlamli - 2013-12-08 11:12

    Maxwell Malmli: The hero of the wold, ofthe African continent, of South Africans and my hero we will miss u RIP

  • Louis Claes - 2013-12-08 18:02

    when I walked in after work on Thursday night and switched on the telly, on the screen appeared "Father of a nation has passed away". And I thought, how the hell did Steve Hofmeyer die???

      George Steyn - 2013-12-10 09:42


  • Thabo Machakga - 2013-12-09 16:23

    I'm sad about what happened to our father NELSON ROLIHLAHLA MANDELA.He create his world for us `we are living wonderful live because of Tata`let he rest in peace `

  • TakaPhila NoVuna - 2013-12-09 16:45

    Sad ***in tears***

  • Jeanarie Norquoy - 2013-12-10 10:18

    RIP Tata. A True Hero

  • tess.boltar - 2014-06-01 09:42

    He divorced Winnie. He did not want her at his side then and afterwards. Of he was not on life support which was why he died. his family and politicians inflicted a long painful life before they decided to let him die.

  • Elize Ellis - 2015-07-26 07:22

    RIP Madiba . walter .nobody will ever live again after you died if you dead you dead and my wish is toe let Mandela nou rest his dead and he cant do anything in this cruel corupt world carry on with the future let the past be the past you can never change that live for today tomorrow may never come.

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