“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” When Nelson Mandela wrote these words, he could not have imagined how deep an impact he would have on South Africa even after his death.
Across the nation people have been showing their gratitude to the man who brought together the Rainbow nation. In death as in life, Mandela has brought people together to share a moment of history.
In Mandela Square, Sandton, Johannesburg people signed a memorial book and placed bouquets in his memory.
“He was the father to everybody in South Africa,” said one woman fighting back tears. “He brought peace to South Africa, made this what we have here today and his example… bring peace to the rest of the world”.
Another man added, “This day and age we talk about freedom, we talk about reconciliation, we talk about equal opportunities for everyone, regardless of their skin colours and that was unheard of before he (Mandela) went to prison.”
“Nelson Mandela has done some much for our country, that I think that’s just writing something and paying respect to him is just such a small thing I can do, and something that he wanted. Every South African should pay respect and honour his legacy.”
That legacy stretches even to the newest generation, with one young girl saying: “He made everybody not separate. He made all of us in one school, all in one… place”.
Just three days after his passing a sea of fresh flowers acts as a reminder of the recent loss, but it is in the years to come that South Africa will show how far Mandela’s legacy can stretch.
Euronews correspondent Francois Chignac reports from Johannesburg:
“A sadness hangs over Johannesburg, it is written on their faces and heard in their words. But the lasting image of the man they are here to pay tribute to is painted with hope and unity.”