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Electrifying atmosphere at Mandela memorial

10 December 2013, 11:34

Johannesburg - The atmosphere at FNB Stadium, south of Johannesburg, was electric on Tuesday as hundreds of people danced ahead of the official memorial service for former president Nelson Mandela.

"Mandela my president, my president!" people chanted and jumped.

Liberation songs could be heard across the stadium as the downpour continued.

"Nelson Mandela, akekho ofana nawe [there is no one like you]," they sang.

Peter Diale, 47, of Diepkloof brought his four sons to the stadium.

"I wish these boys remember what Mandela did for us as a nation. It is through him that we'll have electricity, water and dignified houses," he said.

He wanted his children to have a better understanding of Mandela and his legacy.

"They were born in a free South Africa. They never experienced the pains of apartheid, thanks to Mandela."

Mandela died on Thursday night at his home in Johannesburg at the age of 95. He will be buried in Qunu in the Eastern Cape on Sunday.

Keynote address

The memorial service was expected to start at 11:00.

President Jacob Zuma was expected to deliver a keynote address at the service.

At the overflow Dobsonville stadium, not more than 500 people gathered to watch the service via big screens.

Two screens were set up on either side of a makeshift stage. A crowd was seen singing and dancing.

One person, Nomvula Malindi, 24, who was at Dobsonville, heard that FNB Stadium was not filled to capacity so she left and headed there on the free bus service that had been provided.

She said there was no vibe or excitement at Dobsonville.

"There is no Barack Obama and Bill Clinton here. Some of the young people have never even seen President Jacob Zuma live," Malindi said.

"We love Madiba."

Friends, colleagues, comrades and family of Nelson Mandela are invited to share their memories and tributes, and to light a candle for him, on his profile at Remembered.co.za.



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