Mourners continue Houghton pilgrimage

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Mourners hold a moment of silence at noon outside Mandelas home on Sunday. Susan Lubisi and Caron-Leah Resnick couldnt contain their grief. Picture: Anna Kamolane

Johannesburg - The celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life continues unabated.

On Sunday, mourners again gathered on the corner of 12th Avenue and 4th Street in Houghton to lay flowers and take pictures at the shrine near the late statesman’s home.

Some of the older flowers had begun to wither, and the melted wax from the candles had dribbled onto the pavement.

Candles doused by rainstorms have been repeatedly relit by new visitors.

Several nearby streets were cordoned off, allowing the mourners to use that space for reflection.

“Today, especially, we feel bad because it’s the last day of Madiba,” said Paulina Bokaba.

The 61-year-old lives just around the corner from Madiba’s Houghton home and chose to spend the day outside the house with her granddaughter Tsholofelo.

“We have come here at least three times a day for the past week. It felt like a movie with all the people singing. Today we see that he is gone, it’s starting to sink in,” said Tsholofelo.

The Bokabas said they’d continue to visit the site daily.

Throughout the hot day, vendors sold Mandela memorabilia along the neighbours’ verges, as well as ice cream and boerewors rolls.

Jennifer Roberts has worked overseas for the past six months and wanted to say goodbye. “I landed just this morning. The work I do now is because of the exposure I had working with the ANC. It shaped my life,” she said.

The teacher, who is currently working in Jordan to help with the Syrian refugee crisis, said she was more than happy to be at the Houghton home.

“To be here with others and understand the loss means so much. I had colleagues in Jordan coming to me to pass on their condolences as if it was a personal loss. It was amazing to see how much Madiba meant to the world,” she said.

Just before midday, the Volcano Drum Majorettes from Sebokeng marched down 4th Street to the beat of loud drums.

The group’s members, aged between 8 and 15, had spent the week in Soweto to celebrate and entertain those gathered outside Mandela’s former home in Vilakazi Street, Orlando.

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