'Not even an earthquake could stop me'

2013-12-10 14:25
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

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Johannesburg - Not even the worst earthquake could stop pensioner Emily Mashaba from watching a broadcast of former president Nelson Mandela's memorial service in Soweto on Tuesday.

"I am soaked by the rain, as you can see, but I am soldiering on. Not even an earthquake could stop me from coming," she said at Orlando stadium, as she watched the live broadcast from FNB stadium.

Crowds continued to arrive at the water-logged venue.

Mashaba, 68, from Orlando West, said the event would be the most memorable event for her.

"Unfortunately, I won't make it to Madiba's funeral in Qunu, Orlando my backyard, shall be the place to bid him farewell."

Pensioner Pauline Thithi, from Mzimhlophe, said: "I am here to say farewell to the greatest man that has ever walked this earth."

"He emancipated black people.... We no longer carry passes, we are free," she said.

Mothers carried babies on their backs and occupied the covered upper tiers of the stadium. Some had packed lunch and beverages for the day.

Eleven-year-old Rethabile Skota, of Ennerdale, said she came with her mother to learn about Mandela.

Struggle songs

"I used to see him on television. He was a good man."

Emelia Khosa, from Diepkloof, said she learnt of Mandela's death only on Friday morning.

"I was busy doing laundry and had not watched television; I was shocked when my neighbour told me he had died the previous night," she said.

People watched the proceedings on a giant screen, while others went to buy food and hot beverages from food stalls within the stadium.

Earlier, people sang struggle songs and danced.

Several buses stopped at the Bus Rapid Transit station along nearby Mooki Street, dropping off hundreds of people.

Orlando stadium was one of the feeder venues where members of the public could follow the official memorial service for Mandela at the FNB Stadium, south of Johannesburg.

Mandela died at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, on Thursday at the age of 95. He will be buried in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, on Sunday.

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 Remembered.co.za.

- Share your memories of Nelson Mandela with us.

Read more on:    nelson mandela

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