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

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter 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.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid