In London’s Trafalgar Square, Nelson Mandela addressed a crowd of South Africa expatriates. “I love you so much I want to put you in my pocket and take you home,” he told them.
It was 1999 and Angel Jones was inspired. The next year she moved back to SA and started the Homecoming Revolution, an NGO that encourages South Africans to move home.
On Tuesday, her eyes filled with tears when she shared this memory with a crowd of about 500 people who gathered at the Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton City to record a video for Madiba’s 94th birthday, coming up in July.
The crowd of enthusiastic singers included the Drakensberg Boys Choir and the Soweto Gospel choir, as well as many celebs such as PJ Powers, Kurt Darren and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.
The ministers of basic education and home affairs, Angie Motshekga and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, also attended.
Daniela Ramos brought her 10-month-old daughter Layla to the sing-off. Although the little girl was too small to sing, she chewed on the edge of an SA flag and waved it occasionally.
“She needs to know about (Mandela) this will always remind her,” said Ramos.
Kobus Wiese, who was part of the winning 1995 World Cup Rugby squad, recalled how Mandela related to them as if he was “a grandfather talking to his sons”.
LeadSA’s Yusuf Abramjee said the video would be released on June 18 for the public to view and also to drum up support ahead of Madiba’s birthday.
He said they would be calling on the international community to wish Madiba a happy birthday, in an attempt to make a new world record for the biggest amount of birthday wishes for one person.
Abramjee said they were still in consultation with the Guinness World Records about what record this could break.
President Jacob Zuma announced that Mandela was to move back to his home in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape. Mandela was in good health, Zuma said on Monday.
“We constantly assure him of the love, support and good wishes of millions of South Africans and people around the world,” he said.
Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said Mandela had relocated to his Houghton home while his Qunu residence was being refurbished.