WATCH: Madiba's still magic as Elders march in Cape Town
As South Africa remembered the legacy Nelson Mandela left for the country yesterday‚ six of the world’s most respected leaders celebrated the legacy he left to the world.
As South Africa remembered the legacy Nelson Mandela left for the country on Tuesday‚ six of the world’s most respected leaders celebrated the legacy he left to the world.
Madiba’s widow‚ Graça Machel‚ led a march through Cape Town joined by fellow “Elders” Pakistani human rights activist Hina Jilani‚ former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos‚ former Irish president Mary Robinson‚ and former Norwegian prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland.
The march was to mark the 10th anniversary of The Elders‚ which also includes former UN secretaries-general Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-Moon‚ Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former US president Jimmy Carter.
The leaders were joined in Cape Town by Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson‚ who stood among a crowd of about 1000 people‚ mostly from Cape Town's poorest communities‚ as Machel addressed them on the Grand Parade where Mandela gave his first speech after his release from prison 27 years ago.
Branson was one of the founders of the organisation and he told TimesLIVE the idea behind the organisation was to continue Mandela’s legacy after he was gone.
“It’s my hope that in 100 years’ time The Elders are still there with the most respected men and women of their time‚ hopefully not having to resolve conflicts. Hopefully by then universal healthcare will be a right for everybody in the world‚ hopefully by then diseases and famine will have been cured‚” said Branson.
He said the march “couldn’t have been more perfect”‚ adding: “It was just the magic of hearing the young kids from District Six singing song after song and singing happy birthday to Madiba. I wish in our schools in England we could teach more singing and more dancing.
“I think Madiba would have been dancing along the streets himself as he always did despite the pain of his knees from breaking rocks in prison.”
Lance and Nancy Leopold‚ a middle-aged American couple visiting South Africa for the first time‚ cancelled a trip to the Cape winelands to attend the march.
“We went through this from a great distance years ago and it meant something but now you can feel it‚ you can feel the emotion and see what it’s about‚” said Lance.