The entire world is remembering Nelson Mandela, a veritable icon, one of the last great men say some, but it is obviously in South Africa where emotions are running the highest, and where they express themselves in a special way.
Euronews’ correspondent in Johannesburg is François Chignac.
“The overriding image here is one of communion. The country is certainly in mourning, but it’s a joyful wake, we see the people in the streets are not sad, but are sharing their experiences, talking, dancing, singing and raising their eyes and arms to the skies. Everyone’s photographing everyone else, and there’s lots of hugging. That’s why I say it’s a communion. I saw it just a few hours ago in the crowd outside Mandela’s last house in Houghton. Police put up barriers to stop cars getting too close, and those barriers are now covered with flowers. People are setting up altars, lighting candles, leaving messages, singing and dancing their final respects.”
“François, you’ve spoken to lots of people in the street. Do they and you believe there is going to be a “before and after” Nelson Mandela period for South Africa? What heritage will Nelson Mandela leave behind for the nation? After his death will the country slide into chaos as some fear?”
“It should not be forgotten this is no paradise; youth unemployment is at 25%, and at least one person has told me that the ruling ANC party is bitterly criticised. And in 2014 the country faces a number of important challenges, not least an election during which many young will vote for the first time who never lived under apartheid and who will not be voting for the ANC. Are we in fact in the most unequal country in the world? Can the “Mandela spirit” change that? Or is South Africa on the brink of something terrible? Quite a few are worried about that.”