Mandela
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‘South Africa has lost a hero’

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SAPA

People are seen praying at the former home of Nelson Mandela in Vilakazi Street in Soweto. Picture: Werner Beukes

Johannesburg - People who had gathered outside former president Nelson Mandela's house in Houghton, Johannesburg, formed a big circle and prayed for the late struggle icon on Friday morning.

A man who had been leading them in song asked them to bow their heads and pray.

“I am sure all of us here can pray. Let us do that for Tata Mandela,” he said.

After the prayer, women held their fists high and sang hymns under the glare of television cameras.

Groups of joggers stopped and briefly joined in the singing.

“I had to wake up and come here. This was expected, but now that it is happening, it is actually unbelievable,” said Khumo Mokwena of Rosebank, carrying her baby on her back.

madiba vilakazi dec 6

A crowd of people in Vilikazi Street, Soweto, some with South African flags draped around them, gathered to sing songs in praise of the revered statesman. "Mandela you brought us peace" was one of the songs. Photo: Sapa

SAPA

“It feels like it's my father who has died. He was such a good man... He was a role model unlike our leaders of today,” said Annah Khokhozela, 37, a Johannesburg nanny.

Some of the mourners, including Tumi Molotsi, had been outside the home since midnight or earlier.
 

"It's part of honoring Nelson Mandela in his last journey," said Molotsi.
 

"I hope that at least our country can be united by this," he said.

Wendy Serrurier told The Star she ahs met Madiba several times. "He always told me I was a beautiful young woman".
 

Police kept an eye on the crowds while making sure no one got near the house gates.

People passed by the house in Vilakazi Street, Soweto, where Mandela once lived, to take pictures and leave messages of support on Friday.

Ofentse Nakedi, in her 20s and from Rockville, decided to visit the home and leave a message before going to work.

“I am very sad. My heart goes out to the Mandela family,” she said with tears in her eyes.

She said she hoped leaving a message would make her feel better.

“I just wanted to come to his home... it's out of my way. I work in Cresta but I don't mind.”

Nakedi said when death struck it was her culture to visit the family.

“Unfortunately here you can't really go in and say a prayer so I think leaving a message is the least we can do.”

Security guards at the house set up a large whiteboard for the public to write messages on.

A crowd of people, some with South African flags draped around them, gathered to sing songs in praise of the revered statesman. “Mandela you brought us peace” was one of the songs.

People, who had been singing, fell silent when a car playing Johnny Clegg's song “Asimbonanga”, isiZulu for “we haven't seen him” passed by.

Profiles on Facebook were flooded with photos of former president Nelson Mandela on Friday, with messages expressing sadness at the news of his death.

People from all over the world left messages on Mandela's official Facebook page after he died on Thursday night.

“Though you have gone in this physical world, you will be in our hearts forever, we loved you, and will always love you Madiba, you have done what you were brought (to do) in this world. VIVA MANDELA VIVA,” a Facebook user wrote after hearing the news.

“Hamba kahle, Great Man. Your shoes will never be filled. Rest in Peace,” wrote another.

“You came to the world and you did your part... You were selfless and stood up 4 what you believed in. We have all that we possess because of your selflessness and we thank you very much for that. RIP father of the Nation, the whole world has lost a hero.”

Many people also posted some of the anti-apartheid icon's famous quotes.

Mandela's official Facebook page had 2.2 million likes.

A YouTube video of Mandela appearing with Clegg on stage singing “Asimbonanga” with Mandisa Dlanga in 1999 also made the rounds on Facebook. - Sapa, Reuters and The Star


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