South Africans flock to Mandela’s house

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IOL  South Africa Mandela Obit~9

Johannesburg -

A large crowd gathered outside the home of former president Nelson Mandela in Houghton, Johannesburg, on Friday morning, to pay their respects to the late statesman.

“This is a watershed moment for the nation. It is something that will forever unite us,” said mourner Terry Bamela.

“I'm sad that he has passed, but I am glad that he is in a better place.”

Faseeza Sacook, a 39-year-old mother, brought her two daughters to pay their respects to Mandela.

“I felt that we owe it to Madiba to come and pay our respects to him,” she said.

Some people, who were still in their pyjamas, formed groups and sang struggle songs about Mandela.

They walked through surrounding streets, competing for space with police vehicles and curious onlookers.

Some sang: “Nelson Mandela ha hona ya tshwanang le ena” (Nelson Mandela there is no one like you), accompanied by loud clapping.

Two helicopters hovered above the house. Police cordoned off Fourth street as more people arrived.

Former Johannesburg mayor Amos Masondo was seen making his way to the house accompanied by a young girl carrying flowers.

The media contingent outside the house grew as more people arrived.

“I just arrived from the East Rand for the night vigil. We will sing for him (Mandela) until we bury him,” young Ntombi Mkhabela said.

“I believe that for the first time we will stand united as a nation.”

A 19-year-old man said he was watching the film Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom when he heard about Mandela's death.

“I still can't believe it. I am shocked. I don't know how we will move on from this,” he said.

Earlier, an ambulance arrived at the house accompanied by a convoy of motorcycles. The lights at the house's main gate were switched off.

Men wearing black suits stood on the lawn in front of the house and six black BMW SUVs were parked in the middle of the street obscuring journalists' view of the gate. - Sapa


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