South African President Jacob Zuma

Johannesburg - South African President Jacob Zuma said on Saturday the African region was committed to supporting "the people of Zimbabwe" after a military takeover and that he was cautiously optimistic that the situation there could be resolved amicably.

Zuma made the comments in the South African city of Durban as thousands of Zimbabweans celebrated the expected downfall of President Robert Mugabe in the streets of Harare.

Similar marches took place in Cape Town and Pretoria.

In Harare meanwhile, several thousand people gathered to demand the departure of Mugabe, one of Africa's last remaining liberation leaders, after nearly four decades in power.

READ MORE: PICS: Zimbabweans gather in Pretoria for #MugabeMustFall march

The unbelievable scenes that started early this morning when people from across political divide, colour and religions peacefully marched to the official resident of President Robert Mugabe to deliver one message - "Mugabe must go" are expected to go on for the better part of the day.

In a colorful gathering that even days ago would have drawn an immediate police crackdown, Zimbabweans giddy with joy raced through intersections, raising their arms in triumph. Young men shouted, laughed and embraced. Others danced on top of moving buses.

Some had posters with an image of the military commander who swept in earlier this week and put Mugabe under house arrest, with the slogan: "Go, go, our general!!!" Marchers handed flags to soldiers, who accepted and waved.

The same protest march against the 37 year reign of Mugabe is taking place in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second biggest city.