Parliament draped in Mandela tributes

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Men hold a Nelson Mandela poster during a tribute event held in his remembrance in front of the City Hall in Cape Town on Sunday. Picture: Mark Wessels

Cape Town - A steady stream of people moved through the parliamentary precinct on Monday, paying their respects to the country's first democratically-elected president.

Several buildings, including the National Assembly building, were draped in massive banners in tribute to former president Nelson Mandela.

Recordings of Mandela's voice could be heard reverberating through the precinct, the sound coming from speakers and a big screen erected outside the building.

The footage is of Mandela's speeches in the House while he was president from 1994 to 1999.

MPs, each carrying a single red rose, wrote messages of condolence on a canvas draped over one of the long walls leading to the Assembly building entrance.

However, some of the messages were washed away by a sudden, unexpected downpour on Monday morning.

Those which remain tell the stories of people who were touched by the life and death of Mandela

“Heaven has gained a special warrior. God Bless Madiba. Love, Imelda,” was written in blue.

Another message read: “The people of Burundi remember Nelson Mandela on August 28, 2000, in Tanzania (Arusha) for reaching a peace agreement for Burundi.”

Children came with their parents to remember Mandela. The children, all born after the end of apartheid, said they were learning about him in school.

Primary school pupil Kauthar Adams said some of her history lessons in school centred on Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi this year.

“When it was apartheid, I wasn't born, but I would like to see what Mandela went through in that time and how it was on Robben Island,” she said.

“He went through lots of stuff in apartheid and I'd just like to know why did he fight for justice and why did he want everyone's life to be the same?” she said.

A joint sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces is scheduled to start at 2pm to pay tribute to Mandela. - Sapa

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