The death of South Africa's first black president sparked scenes of sorrow and joyful remembrance in his homelandby Justice Malala / December 6, 2013 / Leave a comment
Nelson Mandela with his predecessor Frederik de Klerk in 1992
JOHANNESBURG—They were singing freedom songs in Soweto this morning.
A common, mournful tune, sung in the Sesotho language, was among the more popular as dawn approached: “Nelson Mandela! Nelson Mandela! Ha hona ya tshwanang le ena! (No one compares to him!).”
Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s greatest and most famous son, had passed away peacefully at 8.50pm local time on Thursday, President Jacob Zuma announced. A hush fell over the nation, and then a cacophony of commentary and tributes poured in from world leaders around the globe. Speeches were made, and sadness shared, everywhere from Washington DC to London.
Outside Mandela’s family home in Johannesburg crowds gathered; tears covered every face—and smiles too.
South Africa mourns Mandela. On social networks, in the media, the outpouring of grief is huge—and it will only intensify over the next two weeks. With it, however, is an immense pride that a human being of the stature of Mandela lived here, walked among us and led us. As South Africa prepares to celebrate 20 years of democracy, the ideas and person of this great man are omnipresent.
When we speak of the “Rainbow Nation” that South Africa has become, it is him we credit with its creation. When we speak of the institutions of democracy that now stand at the centre of our nation and its politics, it is Mandela’s vision and name tha…