Carnival in Houghton

10 December 2013 - 02:04 By KATHARINE CHILD
FINAL TOUCHES: Bullet-proof glass being positioned at FNB Stadium, in Johannesburg, in preparation for Nelson Mandela's memorial service today Picture:
FINAL TOUCHES: Bullet-proof glass being positioned at FNB Stadium, in Johannesburg, in preparation for Nelson Mandela's memorial service today Picture:
Image: DANIEL BORN

Mandla Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela, joined hundreds in dancing outside the icon's Houghton, Johannesburg, home yesterday.

He led a brass band down the street and around the block in a celebratory march.

Mandela took the hands of two young girls and smiled as he danced with them. He sang as crowds surrounded him. A woman screamed out that she loved him.

The atmosphere outside the home echoed that of the 2010 soccer World Cup, with people eating ice creams, buying Mandela merchandise and posing for photographs next to the flower arrangements and messages posted on a wall.

Kaizer Chiefs soccer players and their founder, Kaizer Motaung, visited the home.

Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said that the mourners meant a lot to the extended family.

"We realise these people feel as much as the family [about Mandela]. They own him as much as we do."

She said his death was painful for her because Mandela had been a father to her after her father, Walter Sisulu, died 10 years ago.

"When my father died, I was out of the country ... in Cuba ... He [Mandela] made sure he was the first person I met when I came back. And he said: 'My child I am still here for you' ... He took my father's place in every way he could."

Mandela had said: "When Walter [Sisulu] is buried, I want to sit right next to the coffin. This is the man who made me. This is my mentor."

Hymns erupted from the crowd after UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and Archbishop Desmond Tutu arrived in Houghton late yesterday.

Standing in the rain, women and mourners sang:To Die No More and Thank You God in Sotho.

When Ban left the house, the crowd shouted: "Ban ki, Ban ki".

X