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.
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

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs