Mandela changed our lives

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pretoria – “He is the man who changed our lives,” 56-year-old Agnes Maseloa said on Thursday.

“We struggled a lot but he changed our lives. I can live here now without needing a pass.”

Maseloa is among the throngs of South Africans who today descended on the Union Buildings to view the remains of former President Nelson Mandela, who is lying in state at the Amphitheatre that has been renamed after him.

Snaking queues at the Union Buildings are the order of the day, as the public wait to catch a glimpse of the remains of South Africa’s first democratically elected President, who passed away at his Houghton home last Thursday.

“Although I feel very sad that he is gone, I am glad I came to see him,” said Maseloa, who originally hails from Qwaqwa in the Free State. She took a day off to come pay her respects to Madiba.

Now a resident of Pretoria, Maseloa said that Madiba’s history would remain important for generations to come.

Gcobisa Qupa said seeing Madiba lying in state brought the fact of his passing to reality. “I feel very sad.”

As the lying in state of Mandela continued, South Africans showed their caring side.

Many shed a tear after viewing Madiba’s remains, and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) comforted ordinary citizens who broke down into tears. Ordinary South Africans also comforted one another, with others handing over tissues to those who needed them. Others gave a helping hand to fellow mourners, despite the scorching sun.

Wheelchairs were also provided for those who needed them.

Chief Mandla Mandela continued his watch over his grandfather Nelson Mandela, who is regarded as the father of the nation.

Earlier on in the day, men and women in uniform, including the SA Police Service and the SA National Defence Force, paid their respects to the former statesman.

A Malaysian delegation also came to pay their respects.

The viewing of Madiba’s body will continue until tomorrow.

Mandela will be buried in his home village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape on Sunday. –

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