‘Madiba’s spirit will continue to grow’

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Copy of Copy of QUNU05_MANDELA-_1206_11

Reuters

A shepherd herds livestock past the home of former South African President Nelson Mandela in Qunu. Photo: Rogan Ward

 

Qunu - People have placed flowers and message boards at the gates to former president Nelson Mandela's home in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape.

Thapelo Selepe, 33, made a 1120km trip from Cape Town to pay his last respects.

He could not just sit at home while Mandela had sacrificed so much, he said.

“Madiba is not just a man, he is the father of the nation, the father of the world. Someone who was born in this rural area and became an icon of the world.

“It was important for me to drive all the way to put my feet on his land.

“I brought flowers because flowers grow from the soil and I believe the spirit of Madiba will continue to grow from generation to generation.”

Selepe said that standing in front of the gate made him feel as if he was in another world and he could not miss the opportunity.

Police at the gate were not allowing the media to take pictures.

“We don't want anyone taking pictures here. You can be on the other side of the road,” said a policeman.

A goat herder passed with his herd, children played outside in their yards, and farm animals wandered around.

On electricity poles on the streets of Qunu were posters bearing a picture of Mandela and the words: “Siyakukhulula Madiba” (We are letting you go Madiba).

A banner on a fence on the road up to his house carried the same picture and read: “Lala ngoxolo Madiba” (Rest in peace Madiba).

Thabisa Nogaga, from Mthatha, set up a gazebo across the N2 from Mandela's house and was selling hot dogs, spaghetti bolognaise, coffee, tea and cold drinks.

“We saw that our journalists are suffering to get food and are forced to go back to Mthatha, so we decided to make a plan to get them something to eat,” she said.

Three armoured cars, two military vans, two ambulances and a metro police vehicle were parked outside Mandela's house.

Police on horseback patrolled the streets of the town.

Police have closed off the N2 - which is the main road to and from Qunu - for a few kilometres before and after Mandela's house.

Roadworks on the N2 are continuing. There were white markings on the road next to potholes, which were being filled.

Mandela died at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, on Thursday night and will be buried in Qunu next Sunday. - Sapa


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