Solly Maphumulo, Vuyo Mkhize and Kristen van Schie
Johannesburg - Prayer services continued on Monday morning as South Africans celebrated the life of Nelson Mandela.
Residents gathered at Mvezo Royal Palace in the Eastern Cape - the village where Mandela was born.
They sang royal praises: “Aah, Dalibhunga, Aah, Mphakanyiswa.”
On the wall of the hall where the crowds had gathered was a large picture of Mandela dressed in royal attire.
Ziyanda Maluthana was among the crowds. “I’m singing my lungs out because Mandela is very important to me. He fought for our freedom. We must celebrate his life. He was our saviour,” she said.
The prayer session took place at the homestead where Mandela’s grandson Mandla lives. He was unable to attend the prayer session as he was still in Joburg.
The prayer session was also attended by Chief Mkhulise Mthembu of AbaThembu in Donnybrook, KwaZulu-Natal.
His representative, Khonzumuzi Mthembu, said they had come to express their condolences.
“We are here to say goodbye to Mandela. He is our hero. May his soul rest in peace. We hope all South Africans have learnt a lot from him, from his perseverance and his love for freedom,” he said.
Gospel and struggle songs were sung during the prayer session.
The crowd jumped to their feet when Khonzumuzi Mthembu began singing “Kusasa ekuseni sikhulula Mandela (Tuesday morning we are going to free Mandela)”.
Meanwhile, villagers from Qunu and neighbouring villages started trickling in to Madiba’s home in search of odd jobs, hoping to help out. One woman from a neighbouring village, who declined to give her name, said she had heard from a friend in church that people were being hired to cut grass and clean up the yard.
“I heard people got paid as much as R3 000 a day and that is a lot of money. I came to also try my luck,” she said.
But the woman was told by security guards that only men were being hired at this stage and that only people of Qunu would be hired.
In Gauteng this morning, Premier Nomvula Mokonyane advised residents wanting to attend tomorrow’s memorial service at FNB Stadium to wake up early, pack lunch and umbrellas - but to leave their children behind.
With a capacity of 87 000 guests, she said, the danger for children in the stadium was too high.
Mokonyane warned that the stadium would probably be full by 8am, and mourners would be moved to other stadiums - Orlando, Ellis Park, Dobsonville, Lucas Moripe and Atteridgeville Makhulong.
Water will be available and there will be traders outside the stadium, but no food will be available inside. “We ask mourners to carry food and beverages,” said Mokonyane.
Alcohol is banned and intoxicated mourners will be turned away at the gates. To get to the stadium tomorrow, you can take any of the free public transport options: Metrorail trains, leaving hourly; Gautrain to Park Station, before transferring to Metrorail; Rea Vaya routes T1 (from Ellis Park, via Library Gardens and Westgate to Soccer City) or T3 (UJ Sophiatown via Soweto to Nasrec). There are also park-and ride options.
The services will be available from 6am.
For more information call the premier’s hotline at 086 0011 000.