Mourners gather silently outside Parliament

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The entrance to Parliament in Cape Town. Photo: Michael Walker

Cape Town - A solemn mood hung over Parliament as families and tourists paid tribute to Nelson Mandela while watching the live broadcast of his funeral.

Visitors left messages on a wall of remembrance, took photographs and watched silently as the funeral service broadcast from Qunu was displayed on two big screens.

Mansour Mahed from Strandfontein said he and his wife, Ferial, wanted to witness the funeral at Parliament because it was where Mandela had opened the country’s first democratic assembly.

“It is our connection with him. He was the first democratic leader this country had since 1652,” he said.

He carried a cooler box filled with fruit, juice and water. “We came prepared. We want to spend the whole day and will pass the Grand Parade.”

Mahed said he was proud of South Africa for holding such a dignified service for Mandela.

“This whole week made me proud. I just wish my children were here with me,” he said.

Tanya Diedericks and Dianne Fortuinse finished their shifts as security guards at the V&A Waterfront early on Sunday. They decided to visit Parliament instead of going home.

“We felt it would be more special to watch the funeral here. He has been an inspiration to us,” said Diedericks.

Fortuinse said tears had rolled down her face when she saw images of Graça Machel at the funeral. “It was just too much for me. I will always remember this day and the moment,” she said.

Rebecca Mogashoa, from Pretoria, said she and her family were in Cape Town for the holidays.

“It was our second day here but we had to come to Parliament and to pay our respects. We were honoured to have such a leader.”

cobus.coetzee@inl.co.za

Cape Times


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