Arts and Culture

How readers said goodbye to Madiba

Zodwa Kumalo-Valentine

We asked readers to share with the M&G where they were when they heard the news of Nelson Mandela's passing and how they paid tribute to Madiba.

Flowers and tributes at Nelson Mandela's Houghton home. (AP)

On December 5, South Africa and the world came to a standstill when President Jacob Zuma made the announcement that struggle hero and former president Nelson Mandela passed away.

We asked Mail & Guardian readers to share with us where they were when they heard the news and how they paid tribute to Madiba.

This is what you had to say:

Danielle Hervey, Cape Town
I was listening to 5fm radio while driving home from an event that I had been working on all day. I pulled into the nearest garage and listened to the announcement with all the late night staff.

I posted comments and photos on social media all week, sharing stories with my children (four and six years old), reading them the children's version of Long Walk to Freedom and showing them the scrapbook I kept in 1994 (kept it then for my unborn children).

On keeping his legacy alive: I read that not one individual can fill Madiba's shoes. But a nation can. I will try and teach my own children humility, respect for one another and also know that if you want to make a change, you don't have to be scared.

Nthato Nkwadi, Soweto
We designed a granite stone shaped as the Amandla arm and displayed it at the Mandela House in Soweto where the prime minister of South Korea dedicated a prayer and put flowers on the memorial stone. It's getting signed by different people visiting the house.

On keeping his legacy alive: I think the way to make sure Madiba’s legacy lives on is by getting the youth more involved in politics.

Monde Sussman, Johannesburg
I was woken up by my phone, which kept on buzzing with Twitter and BBM messages coming through. We got up and watched Zuma making a statement about Mandela.

I took my boy to Houghton with a flower where we laid it on the shrine outside his home. I was interviewed on SkyNews and I shared my feelings and tribute with the rest of the world.

I left Jo'burg for the UK that Sunday and missed being there but I watched everything on TV.

Ria van Kampen, Amsterdam
I was at home, watching the late news show here on the Dutch television and they immediately started broadcasting a special programme about Mandela. I flicked between the Dutch channels and BBC watching the events unfold.

I watched the memorial on TV and went to the municipal theatre where they have a condolence register to sign. It's from that balcony where Mandela addressed the masses when he was in the Netherlands shortly after his release.

On keeping his legacy alive: I will continue to respect my fellow man and help wherever I can! I hope that one day the whole world will be a peaceful rainbow nation!

Kristin Holmes, Cape Town
I heard the news on my way to work the morning after it happened. I was in shock, motionless. He freed our country, gave his life up for us (even sacrificed time with his family). He makes me proud to be South African and inspires me to forgive and become a better person. I must admit I am not as strong as he was. He was a powerful man, a living legend, a South African hero. Viva Mandela!

On keeping his legacy alive: I will try to be a better and more forgiving me, and complete my LLB to contribute and make a difference in society to women and children in our country. It is still a long walk to freedom.

Mbali Mthembu, Durban
When I turned on my car radio for the drive to work, I heard tributes pouring in and struggle songs playing on 5fm. It truly felt as if I had lost my own grandfather. I lit candles and prayed for Tata's family, our country and the world. My family, friends and colleagues have followed national radio and TV stations closely - working while mourning the death of uTata. My family, friends and fellow mourners gathered at Moses Mabhida People's Park in Durban to watch the funeral. I will continue to light candles and pray with my family, friends and colleagues.

On keeping his legacy alive: I will embrace Madiba's values in my everyday life, and try to ensure that his legacy lives on for generations to come. "There are angels who walk this earth in the image of humans but we know them by their deeds. Deeds of peace, love and humanity." Rest in peace, Madiba. You made Africa proud.

Nidhi Chaitow, Cape Town
I woke up at 3.11am knowing that something had happened and went onto Facebook and read my daughter's status – she is based in China and we chatted on Whatsapp about it. I went to the Grand Parade in Cape Town on Friday, laid flowers, wrote in the book of remembrance, sang and connected with people from all walks of South African life. I've been very quiet and reflective – blogging and sharing with my friends and family all over South Africa and the world – also watched many documentaries on TV, following our period of grief and reflection.

On keeping his legacy alive: To be the best possible elder and wise woman I can be; to live my purpose and be a loving inspiring light walking my talk; embracing my strength and dignity; living in line with my values and being loyal to myself, my family, community and South Africa; and be a positive role model to all.

Moira Mogato, Hopetown
We were on the farm – busy packing carrots in the Bo-Karoo when we heard the news.

We made a collage with all of Tata Madiba's quotes. We are 400 farm workers on the farm. We had cake and cold drink, celebrating Tata Madiba's life. Sweet cake – for what he'd done for us and lemon cold drink – for the sadness that he passed.

On keeping his legacy alive: We plan to educate not just our children but ourselves. Celebrate Mandela day and remember "never, never again". We are doing our best every day and work alongside all of the different cultures on our farm. Viva Mandela, viva!

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