Mandelas united in grief - and hope

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IOL pic dec8 nelson mandela statue and flag


A statue of Nelson Mandela outside the gates of Drakenstein Correctional Centre, near Paarl. Picture: Finbarr O'Reilly

Johannesburg -

The Mandela family said on Sunday it was comforted by the fact that the world shared in its sense of loss.

“Indeed our burden of pain and sorrow is daily being lessened by the outpouring of national and international grief for our father and elder,” General TT Matanzima told reporters in Johannesburg.

“We have always been mindful that we share Tata with the rest of South Africa, Africa and the rest of the world.”

He was reading a statement on behalf of the Mandela family, and was accompanied by Mandela's grandson, Ndaba Mandela.

Former president Nelson Mandela died at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, on Thursday night. He was 95.

The family said it was melancholy, but it did not despair and was filled with hope.

“Part of us is indeed gone forever, but he has left us enduring lessons and examples of what must be continued, what must be intensified, what must be ended and what must still be striven for,” Matanzima read on behalf of the family.

“Though he answered to the name father, husband, granddad, son and statesman, we all understood ultimately that Tata remains an inspiration not only to us but the rest of humanity.”

The family called on all South Africans to help them keep Mandela's dream alive.

“Let us pledge to keep Mandela's dream alive, in the way in which we solve our most difficult problems, and in the way in which we raise up the poor, the downtrodden and the marginalised.”

The family said it would enter into a “solemn covenant” with the people of the country, Africa and the world that it would be true to the values and ideals Mandela stood for.

“As a family we have no option except to be bound by these values.

“Let the word go here from hence that we dare not fail.”

The family thanked all religious communities for holding prayer services for the anti-apartheid icon on Sunday.

It said the family's two mothers, Graca Machel and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, were aware of the love, support, care, prayers and meditation extended to the family in its hour of need.

“Both our mothers... nonetheless express their conviction that Nelson Mandela, like a flower, will continue to blossom forever in all your hearts.”

Matanzima said the family was visited by the king of the Thembu nation, Zwelibanzi Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, and a delegation on Sunday.

“The king is visiting the family today... to comfort and counsel, and to apprise himself of the funeral and burial arrangements.”

A memorial will be held for Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto on Tuesday. He will then be given a state funeral in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, next Sunday. - Sapa

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