Madiba casts his vote

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Johannesburg - A patriotic shiver went down the spines of those watching, as the country's favourite citizen, former President Nelson Mandela, cast his vote in the 2009 General Elections.

Voting came to a temporary halt at the Killarney Country Club in Houghton, where a special ballot box was set up for Madiba.

Wearing his famous Madiba shirt in a bright yellow, and a black overcoat to keep away the morning chill, with his trademark AIDS badge, pinned to it, Madiba proudly walked into the voting station with the help of his cane and Gauteng Premier Paul Mashatile.

Over 100 journalists, photographers and voters witnessed as he cast his vote in the presence of the Independent Electoral Commission Chairperson Brigalia Bam.

After casting his vote, the country's most popular citizen, better known as tata (father), cast a glorious smile at the cheering crowd and waved.

Madiba, now 90 years old, could have qualified for a special vote, but he instead chose to get out of bed and brave the chilly weather to make his mark, an inspiration to all citizens that if he could do it - then so could they.

Meanwhile, outside the voting station, a queue with hundreds of voters snaked its way around the block; among the voters were Dali Mpofu and Tokyo Sexwale.

ANC President Jacob Zuma's daughters, who where also present at the venue, were excited to see Madiba casting his vote.

Dressed in ANC gear, Duduzile Zuma said "it feels great and fantastic to witness Madiba casting his vote."

Phumzile and Duduzile voted earlier in the morning at the Holy Family Convert where former president Thabo Mbeki voted.

Duduzile joked that her sister Phumzile, 22, who was a first time voter couldn't find the ANC block. "She could recognise her own father," laughed Duduzile.

Phumzile said it was the first time she was voting and she felt a bit scared.

Speaking to BuaNews after Madiba had cast his vote, Dr Bam said that initial reports were that the voting process was going "amazingly well" countrywide.

At some voting stations, she said, voters had started queuing from before dawn. Dr Bam said the IEC still expected 20 million voters to visit the polling stations countrywide before 9pm today.