News / Africa

Visitors Flock to Johannesburg to Bid Mandela Farewell

Visitors Flock to Johannesburg to Bid Mandela Farewelli
X
December 10, 2013 12:00 AM
People from across South Africa and beyond are making long journeys to pay their respects to Nelson Mandela, following his death last week. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, the Johannesburg home of the former president and anti-apartheid leader has become a pilgrimage site in a national outpouring of emotion.
Related video by H. Ridgwell
Henry RidgwellPeter Cox
People from across South Africa and beyond are making long journeys to pay their respects to Nelson Mandela, following his death last week. The Johannesburg home of the former president and anti-apartheid leader has become a pilgrimage site in a national outpouring of emotion.
 
They come to mourn, to lay flowers and light candles; but also to sing, dance and celebrate the life of the man who transformed their nation.
 
Sibongi Lenobo came by bus from Kwazulu-Natal province on the south coast.

“Me come see Mandela’s house," she said. "Me happy for Mandela, make everything nice.”

Tlha Tlogo and her three sisters had a long road journey, 450 kilometers, across South Africa to get here.

“We come from Pampierstad. It’s a small township in the Northern Cape; it’s about six hours from here," she said. "And we came here just to show our respect to Tata. He’s our father, he’s our grandfather, he’s our first black president. And this is one of the moments in history.”

Tlha and her siblings thought the trip was well worth it and having grieved, they are ready to celebrate.

He was with us for a very long time. Look at the atmosphere right now, it's it's feeling good, it's feeling ok…We are sad, but we are rejoicing as well," she said. "For his life was a blessing and how can you be sad for a blessing?"
 
The mood here is changing from one of sadness at a nation’s loss to celebration of a life that gave so much to the world.
 
More and more people are arriving at Nelson Mandela’s former home in the district of Houghton. Among them, his grandson Mandla Mandela, who led a procession through the neighborhood Monday.
 
As the celebrations of his life grow louder here, across town in Sandton, Nelson Mandela Square has become a quieter place of pilgrimage.
 
Visitors write tributes to the man who many South Africans say felt like a member of their own family.
 
Zanele Mbokazi and her son travelled here by taxi from Durban - a journey of nearly 600 kilometers.
 
“I wanted to come here and pay tribute to Tata Madiba, and for what he did for us," she said. "We are a free country today. We knew that he was old but then his passing just touches everyone.”

For some, a holiday to South Africa has turned into a chance to mourn for a beloved leader.

Bishop Richard K. Thompson, who works with a Methodist church organization in Washington, D.C., was in Johannesburg when Mandela died Thursday.

"What I'm feeling is that we knew this day was coming because he was 95 years old," he said.  "But you never really prepared for it….To see the overflowing love that the people in the country have shown for his leadership, it’s just been an overwhelming experience."
Thompson and his group snapped photos in front of the Mandela statue in Nelson Mandela Square. They were planning to go to FNB Stadium for the memorial ceremony Tuesday, despite being discouraged to do so because of transportation issues.

Thompson, who is African-American, said Mandela was held in high regard in the black community in the United States.

"For us, he has been a champion when it comes to civil rights," he said. "He quotes Martin Luther King, he quotes people who are so dear to our hearts."

Richard Hallward was visiting South Africa from his home in Poland when Mandela’s death was announced.
 
“Heard the news and first thing we did was come here to Mandela Square, saw the flowers," he said. "It’s important, not just for South Africa but for the world.”
 
Across South Africa, in the significant places of his extraordinary life, the tributes continue to pile up as the world says goodbye to Nelson Mandela.

You May Like

Video Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

Al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Issa Kirarira from: Uganda
December 10, 2013 1:40 AM
He was a man in a true sense of a man in Bakinga saying (Africans).To him and veracity, were undetached .He loved all that Allah (God) created and he viewed a world without reconciliation as a world of fantasy. Nelson Madela commonly known as Madiba, will never be missed if his principle and ideas are held high with esteem. His life was and it will still remain a challenge to the opportunist, arrogant sadist, schemers dishonest, unkind and all those who lead the way of sadness to humanity.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs