Johannesburg - Members of unions affiliated to the Congress of SA Trade Unions arrived at Regina Mundi Catholic Church in Soweto for a memorial service for Nelson Mandela on Friday.
They gathered in a circle in front of the church singing “Nelson Mandela u lale ngoxolo (Nelson Mandela rest in peace)”.
Dressed in red T-shirts they sang apartheid-era resistance songs and whistled as they filed into the church, while the women ululated.
They held a red SA Communist Party poster that read “Hamba kahle Mkhonto [Farewell spear]. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela 1918-2013.”
The poster showed Mandela raising a clenched fist on a red background.
Cosatu in Gauteng was hosting the memorial service after the elderly former statesman died at his Johannesburg home on December 5.
He would be buried in Qunu in the Eastern Cape on Sunday.
“Nelson Mandela ga go yo o tshwanang nae [Nelson Mandela there is no one like him],” they sang before the formal programme started.
Hawkers had also set up outside the church selling food and cold drinks at a high price.
A 500ml cold drink which usually sells for R10 was priced at R15.
A package of pap and rice with roasted chicken or barbecued T-bone was priced at R40 as opposed to the usual price of R25.
The crowd also sang Johnny Clegg's song “Asimbonanga”.