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

Kurdish Party Pushes Political Gamble to Run in Turkey Poll

HDP announces it will run as political party instead of fielding independent candidates in June election, but faces tough 10 percent threshold More

Twitter Targets Islamic State

New research shows suspending Twitter accounts of Islamic State, its supporters has been effective; group, its backers are facing 'significant pressure,' says terrorism expert More

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

Majur Juac made the leap from being a refugee in Africa to a master chess champion in US, where he shares his expertise with students More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Spacei
X
Rosanne Skirble
January 27, 2015 5:05 PM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.
Video

Video Weekly Protests in Korea Keep Japanese WWII Atrocities Alive

Every week in Seoul protesters gather in front of the Japanese Embassy to demand an apology and reparations from Tokyo for the thousands of South Korean women who were forced into prostitution during World War II. Although this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, these protestors have helped keep the issue of comfort women alive and made it difficult for Japan to move beyond its past wartime atrocities. VOA's Brian Padden reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Exercise: New Prescription for Parkinsons Disease

Exercise could be the new prescription for Parkinson's Disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. More than six million people worldwide suffer from Parkinsons and they're traditionally treated with medication and surgery. Shelley Schlender has more.
Video

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Greece’s youngest-ever prime minister, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, was sworn in Monday after his victorious far-left Syriza party entered a coalition with far right rivals. Tsipras says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts. So begins a new chapter for the country at the epicenter of Europe’s economic crisis - a change that has sent tremors across the continent, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Oil Price Drop Troubles Texas Producers

As oil prices have fallen over the past several months, drilling operations have slowed in some parts of the United States - including Texas, the state that surpasses all others in energy production. The Lone Star State’s energy output has been boosted in recent years by development of resources trapped deep below ground in the Eagle Ford shale deposit, which stretches across south central Texas. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Karnes City, Texas, the drop in oil prices has created concerns,
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid