Cape Town's Grand Parade was buzzing with people from all corners of the Mother City, coming to pay their respect to the former president and icon, Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela, who passed away yesterday. The memorial service started in the place where Mandela ushered the first democratic constitution in 1993. The ceremony was opened by the Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia De Lille, and accompanied by singing of the national anthem of South Africa.
De Lille said in a weary voice, “Tata Madiba has left us. We must be committed to continue, in the spirit of what he fought for, lived for and died for.”
“I cried last night when I heard Madiba passed away. He was our grandfather and an icon. South Africa has lost a visionary,” said Nadia Amardien, 17, from Mitchell’s Plain.
“I cried last night when I heard Madiba passed away. He was our grandfather and an icon. South Africa has lost a visionary,” said Nadia Amardien, 17, from Mitchell’s Plain. “It's something that you expect to happen but it's still sad because everyone feels like they had a personal relationship with Mandela,” added Myrna Burgess.
In spite of the passing of the 95-year-old statesman, rumours had been flying around that all white people will be banned in South Africa, so black people could claim back their country. De Lille dispelled those rumours and said, “We stand in solidarity as people of Cape Town: black, white, coloured and Indians, we unite and create an ever-lasting legacy that Tata has left behind.”
“Mandela's death will unite us as a country and make us strong,” said Mpumi Alla, 26, from Claremont.
Capetonians were given the opportunity to put flowers and t-shirts on the fence in front of the City Hall, with messages for Mandela and his family. A white t-shirt with a red heart on it, caught the eye: in front of it was written: “I love You Madiba”.
As jazz music played in the background and three flags flew high on top of City Hall, the mood of the crowd showcased that Mandela's passing was not in vain. There was unity and joy in the Mother City, a place where Mandela gave his first speech as a free man.