News / Africa

South African Businesses Allowing Mourning Time

Members of the public make their way through the Union Buildings to pay their respects to former South African President Nelson Mandela during his lying in state in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013.Members of the public make their way through the Union Buildings to pay their respects to former South African President Nelson Mandela during his lying in state in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013.
x
Members of the public make their way through the Union Buildings to pay their respects to former South African President Nelson Mandela during his lying in state in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013.
Members of the public make their way through the Union Buildings to pay their respects to former South African President Nelson Mandela during his lying in state in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
— Many South African retailers will close their doors on Sunday, as the country lays its beloved leader Nelson Mandela to rest in Qunu, his ancestral home. During the 10 days of mourning for the former president, some companies have also allowed employees time off to pay respects at various memorials around the country. Employees and analysts alike say the time off and closures are good business.  

Jacques Bakker went to the home of the late former president Nelson Mandela, along with four co-workers on Monday morning. His company, Galileo Capital, surprised its employees when they'd arrived at work, giving them a chance to mourn.

"We just came to the office today," he said. "We didn't know that this has been arranged. So we got to the office and they said to us they've arranged a taxi, and they'll be taking us in a couple of batches of people to come pay our respects and just see the memorial to Mr. Nelson Mandela."  

Bakker says it was a great feeling to have his company and boss make that effort.

"I think it's fantastic that he created this opportunity for us," said Bakker. "It just adds a little more value to your company. It just brings a little more ethics through to the company, as well."  

As the nation has made its way through a 10-day period of mourning, many businesses have followed suit.

Anita Vandenberg, who works for JD Group, which owns more than a dozen retail businesses in South Africa, stopped by Mandela's home on Monday on her lunch break.

She said her company was allowing stores to close from 11 - 3 on Tuesday so that employees could watch the official memorial at the FNB sports stadium in Johannesburg - broadcast internationally and on public screens throughout the country.

"I wanted to take my laptop and sit in the canteen and watch the memorial service and now we've been given the time to do that without having to worry about work," said Vandenberg. "So it definitely gives you the feeling of being engaged and feeling like they respect this very special time and the emotions that we have."  

Major retailers such as Woolworth's, Shoprite, Massmart and stores within the JD Group will shut down Sunday for Nelson Mandela's funeral.

Jean Pierre Verster, an analyst at 36One Asset Management, says the economic effect of closing for the funeral is negligible.

"I don't foresee that this week's worth of mourning should have a material impact on the economy... So I think the retailers in terms of the employers have been quite clever in doing something that has a very significant gesture of goodwill attached to it, but does not have a meaningful economic impact,” said Verster.

He says there aren't many figures whose deaths would lead to such closures.

"Because of Mandela's stature and his importance for the country and the whole nation,” said Verster. "I think there is a special need to be sensitive for the issue, to have respect for cultural tradition regarding the process of mourning. Therefore I think it’s the right thing to do."

Closures weren't the only gesture of mourning from businesses. Many have taken out ads in national papers, and put up billboards paying respect to the anti-apartheid icon.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid