South Africans may have begun an official period of mourning for the former president Nelson Mandela who died on Thursday, but for many it is more a celebration of his life.
Dancing and singing by ordinary South Africans, – black and white – has continued since President Jacob Zuma announced the passing of the much revered statesman.
Over the next seven days a series of events will commemorate the man who is held up as a symbol of freedom and forgiveness.
“Mandela was also a symbol for the rest of the African continent. For example in DR Congo, my country, when there was war with Kabila, Mandela went over to negotiate. He wanted peace for all African countries,” said one woman who had joined hundreds of others outside the former home of the leader.
According to one mourner, Mandela was South Africa’s saviour: “We are here to honour an amazing man who I believe saved South Africa from total annihilation,” he said .
“The legacy that he left is going to live for ever,” added another.
Mandela’s home in Johannesburg has become a focus for those wishing to thank him for steering their country out of white-minority rule into a democratic nation.
Joining them was our correspondent François Chignac:
“The singing will continue here for some time. In a few hours, the South African parliament will pay homage to Madiba, ahead of Tuesday’s grand ceremony in Johannesburg’s giant football stadium where during the 2010 World Cup Nelson Mandela made his last public appearance.”
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