News / Africa

Visitors Flock to Johannesburg to Bid Mandela Farewell

Visitors Flock to Johannesburg to Bid Mandela Farewelli
X
December 10, 2013
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

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
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.
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.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid