Johannesburg - Tuesday's memorial for former president Nelson Mandela was for South Africa and the world to remember him, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said.
Speaking to reporters at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, where the memorial is taking place, Chabane said the government, Mandela's family and the ANC had pulled together following Mandela's death.
“The president of Afghanistan, (of) Bangladesh, (said) 'Look, we have never seen something like this',” Chabane said.
He said his favourite personal memory of Mandela was on the campaign trail in 1994.
Chabane, who worked with Mandela between 1991 and his retirement, had accompanied Mandela to a rally in the town of Mashashane, which was in the Northern Province at that stage. Chabane, who was secretary of the Northern Transvaal ANC at the time, left for the hotel separately to Mandela's motorcade.
“As I was driving, the car ran out of petrol,” Chabane said.
“When Mandela got back, he asked where I was.”
Told that Chabane's whereabouts were unknown, Mandela refused to get out the car until he was found.
Mandela's bodyguards eventually found Chabane, and took him back to the hotel.
“That said a lot about who he was,” Chabane said.
Mandela died on Thursday in his home in Houghton, Johannesburg. He was 95. He will be buried in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, on Sunday. - Sapa