IT was a day of celebrating different cultures and continuing to remember Nelson Mandela as the city transformed the Fan Walk into the Walk of Remembrance with a colourful, vibrant display.
Yesterday Mayor Patricia de Lille and the city celebrated Reconciliation Day with hundreds of Captonians on a walk filled with music and dancing.
There was also a special appearance from Cape Town-born international soccer player Quinton Fortune, who flew in from Manchester for the event.
The Reconciliation Walk featured minstrels, buskers, face-painters, musicians, stilt-walkers, mime artists and performers in a range of musical styles including kwaito, sakkie-sakkie, salsa, hip hop, pantsula, and Afro-fusion.
After the walk, the city hosted a concert with local artists including Vicki Sampson, Liquideep, Arno Carstens and Kurt Darren outside the Cape Town Stadium.
The walk started with a moving tribute to Mandela as a choir sang Struggle songs and the national anthem.
At the event, De Lille said: “Madiba was the father of our young democracy. His story of triumph over adversity is part of the lifeblood of this country.
“His example, his spirit, is a part of us all. While we honour Madiba, it is important to honour everyone who gave so much for the cause of freedom and who either died in the process or have since passed on.”
After the 10 days of mourning Madiba, De Lille encouraged people to honour the former statesman’s words: “The goal is not to live forever, but to create something that will.”
Former Bafana Bafana and Manchester United soccer player Fortune arrived in the city on Sunday to be part of the city’s Reconciliation Day event.
He heard of Mandela’s death as he arrived at an airport in The Netherlands on the day after Mandela died.
“I saw all the newspapers and I was in shock. It felt like he was family to me when I read the news and I just sat down and tears came,” Fortune said.
He honoured Mandela, saying his successful international soccer career was due to Mandela’s work in fighting for racial equality and freedom.
“I have a lot to be grateful to Mandela for. I owe him everything. When I left South Africa in 1991 to Tottenham, it was because of what he did. I would never have been able to play overseas. I only used to play in my area, in Kewtown, but when I was discovered, I had a white coach and for the first time played with white and black players. I hope we can all learn from Mandela’s example,” Fortune said.
De Lille added: “We come from a history where people and communities were brutalised, where we were poisoned by the idea that oppression and prejudice should be the basis of social order. It was a toxic place full of sadness, suspicion and pain. We were all affected by the apartheid system but with a differing range of experiences.
“Some were imprisoned, some were tortured, some were sent into exile and some lost their lives. Let us honour them, and Madiba, with this Walk of Remembrance.
“And let their sacrifice inform us in our drive to build a society and a city based on reconciliation and redress.”