The City of Cape Town has received tens of thousands of messages for the late Nelson Mandela, after it set up various channels that members of the public could use to leave messages about what Madiba meant to them.
Members of the public were able to visit any of the commemorative sites or Subcouncil offices across the city to lay flowers or write their messages in special remembrance books. Alternatively they could use the online system that the City set up for this purpose.
These messages are going to be collected, bound into a commemorative book, and sent to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory.
Those who left messages, either online or at the commemorative sites, were also given the chance to read the messages of others and to experience varied perspectives of the former president. These messages served to bring communities together, with website posts from across Cape Town, South Africa and the world.
Farewells from across the seas
International messages were left online by, amongst others, people from Aruba, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Columbia, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Kenya, Malawi, the Netherlands, Panama, Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Closer to home, we received messages from Bloemfontein, Boksburg, Durban, East London, Johannesburg, Knysna, Lusikisiki, Oudtshoorn, Pietermaritzburg and Riviersonderend – to name but a few.
Capetonians from all over the city left messages online and in the special books – from Athlone to Bothasig, Claremont to Delft, Gugulethu to Kalk Bay and Mitchells Plain to Oranjezicht. Residents in almost every suburb used the opportunity to explain what Madiba meant to them, or to share their fondest memory of him.
Members of the public filled up numerous commemorative books and it is clear that the tributes to Mandela were a source of great comfort and also served as a practical way to celebrate Madiba’s life and what he did for our nation.
Some messages were simple and poignant: Jenny from Green Point said: ‘Madiba, as you close your eyes, may the world open theirs. Thank you for your time spent making our world a better place. Your legacy will continue’.
Some residents shared memories, like Karen from Rondebosch East who said: ‘I can still remember the day I heard on the radio that he was going to be released – I was alone at home and I was dancing around, so excited. I called a friend and we celebrated together over the phone. I hope that I and all of us will be able to live his values and do his memory proud’.
His spirit lives on
Carol from Sea Point said: ‘Having lived through Wits University in the 60s when the brightest black students were banned from the public library, street police on the campus, and of apartheid, Mandela achieved the seemingly impossible. No amount of accolade can praise him enough and his spirit will live on in our hearts….May his dear soul rest in peace’.
Many people thanked Madiba, like Carol from Grassy Park who said: ‘Tata you showed us how to be assertive, how to forgive, and how to move on. Thanks for mentoring us as South Africans’.
Members of the public took the opportunity to reflect on Nelson Mandela’s legacy. Thembalethu from Khayelitsha said: ‘You took your generation out of darkness (apartheid) and brought them to light (freedom), paving the way for the current generation and the next one. The onus is on us to keep your legacy alive’.
Overseas visitors also used the opportunity to share their feelings about South Africa, with Jonathan from Canada writing: ‘Nothing in my life has been quite so inspiring as being in South Africa during this trying time…We thank you for everything you have done and the inspiration you gave us and the world’.
Shireen from the United Kingdom said: ‘The earth shines a little less brightly with your passing. Thank you for your humanity’.