News / Africa

Flowers, Tributes Outside Mandela Home Showcase Rainbow Nation

Ten-year-old Jason tells reporter Thuso Khumalo about how he met Nelson Mandela, Houghton, Dec. 8, 2013. (Jennie Smith for VOA)Ten-year-old Jason tells reporter Thuso Khumalo about how he met Nelson Mandela, Houghton, Dec. 8, 2013. (Jennie Smith for VOA)
x
Ten-year-old Jason tells reporter Thuso Khumalo about how he met Nelson Mandela, Houghton, Dec. 8, 2013. (Jennie Smith for VOA)
Ten-year-old Jason tells reporter Thuso Khumalo about how he met Nelson Mandela, Houghton, Dec. 8, 2013. (Jennie Smith for VOA)
A veritable mountain of flowers, condolence cards and burning candles have piled up outside Nelson Mandela’s house in Johannesburg's northern suburbs, as thousands of people continue to mourn the iconic leader, who died last week.

The riotously colorful flowers - and the diverse group of people delivering them - truly illustrate what Mandela affectionately dubbed “the Rainbow Nation.”

Mandela died Thursday at the age of 95, after a longtime battle with a recurring lung infection.

The flowers mirror South Africa’s colourful flag: green, yellow, red and white flowers dominate, while blue and purple refuse to be overshadowed.  


Nelson Mandela Memorial ObservancesNelson Mandela Memorial Observances
x
Nelson Mandela Memorial Observances
Nelson Mandela Memorial Observances
Meaningful remembrances

Hundreds of messages left by mourners add meaning.

A message from Alessio reads, “You will never be forgotten.” Dharma Naidoo and his family wrote, “Thank you for the job well done.” A yellow T-shirt hanging on the flowers summed it up: “Thank you for making South Africa a better place.”

Hundreds of candles burn next to the flowers. Those who bring them say they are a symbol of peace, signifying the brightness they saw in Nelson Mandela’s life.

Zizipho Sogawula works in the suburb of Houghton, not far from Mandela’s house. During tea break on Monday morning she decided to walk to the house, and like many others, the flowers and burning candles attracted her attention.
 
“It’s touching. There are actually hundreds of candles here. They are still burning and it means that his spirit still lives on," said Sogawula. "It’s only when you are here that you really get emotional seeing all these tributes and all these flowers from everyone. I think it’s very admirable, I like it.”

Flowers are piled up outside Nelson Mandela's Houghton home in Johannesburg, Dec. 8, 2013. (Thuso Khumalo for VOA)Flowers are piled up outside Nelson Mandela's Houghton home in Johannesburg, Dec. 8, 2013. (Thuso Khumalo for VOA)
x
Flowers are piled up outside Nelson Mandela's Houghton home in Johannesburg, Dec. 8, 2013. (Thuso Khumalo for VOA)
Flowers are piled up outside Nelson Mandela's Houghton home in Johannesburg, Dec. 8, 2013. (Thuso Khumalo for VOA)
Enormous outpouring

Tracy Nail and her two daughters, Jody and Emma, added three bunches of flowers to the pile. “I brought my girls here to put flowers down for Madiba [Mandela's clan name], because I feel that it’s very important that they know the history of our country. I think his death has unified us all again and helped us to be more positive about the future and just make us remember everything that he stood for and how important it is to just keep on believing in that.”

Ten-year-old Jason Smith came with his mother to deliver flowers and an enlarged photograph of himself, his brother Kevin and Nelson Mandela, taken two years ago when his family visited the world icon at his Qunu home.

Smith said the memory of that visit is still fresh in his mind. “I saw the security guards and then his grandson called me and my family to meet him, and he was lying down in his chair, I felt so happy that I saw Nelson Mandela, I’m so sad that he passed away,” he said.

Some 80,000 people are expected to fill up a massive soccer stadium in Johannesburg’s Soweto suburb on Tuesday for Mandela’s memorial service.

His body will then lie in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria for three days, before being laid to rest Sunday at Mandela’s rural home in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape Province.

  • Mourners sing outside the home of Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Dec. 9, 2013.
  • People leave messages for Nelson Mandela on a memorial site adorned with South African flags on trees, in Rosebank, an affluent district of Johannesburg, Dec. 9, 2013.
  • A painting of Nelson Mandela surrounded by Martin Luther King, Mohandas Gandhi, John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and Barack Obama is fixed on top of flowers outside his home in Johannesburg, Dec. 9, 2013.
  • Nearly two old boy Kiran rests on a teddy bear in the flowers laying in front of the house of Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Dec. 9, 2013.
  • A man reaches to for his daughter held by her mother, while workers line up outside the FNB stadium where the memorial service for Nelson Mandela will take place on Tuesday, Johannesburg, Dec. 9, 2013.
  • Workers line up outside the FNB stadium where the memorial service for South Africa President Nelson Mandela will take place on Tuesday, Johannesburg, Dec. 9, 2013.
  • The face of Nelson Mandela and his clan name Madiba is projected onto the face of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa Dec. 8, 2013.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: MEMORY NJ from: Forest Hill
December 11, 2013 5:11 PM
RIP TATA WE LUV YOU

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs