Celebrating the Mandela spirit on Soweto streets | india | Hindustan Times
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Celebrating the Mandela spirit on Soweto streets

india Updated: Dec 16, 2013 01:34 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times
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'My president, my president… Mandela yo….' is a freedom song here, and it immediately got everyone to break into a jig, even those serious tourists who were looking at the house of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, another giant of the anti-apartheid movement.

On the day of Nelson Mandela's burial in Qunu, his ancestral village, the Vilakazi street in Soweto, where he had spent a lot of time and which epitomises the revolution, reverberated with it. It wasn't grief but celebration as people thanked that they had got this man.

Along the street were stalls doing brisk business selling Mandela T-shirts although the most prominent were the South Africa football team jerseys with his pictures. Mandela's contribution to sports is well known and he is known to have kept all the sportspersons, especially those in white-dominated rugby and cricket, in the loop while building a new, inclusive South Africa.

Reaching out
Natalie Du Toit, the amputee swimmer, recalled a day when she was abroad and Mandela called her, saying he "knows someone who had the same problem" and "how he appreciated her spirit".

Former South Africa captain Shaun Pollock says the day he quit captaincy, he got a call from Madiba, who congratulated him for the way he had managed the team. It was these little gestures that had made Madiba so popular among the country's athletes.

Former South Africa paceman, Fanie de Villiers, an Afrikaaner himself, appreciates what Mandela had done for the country. He told HT, "Whenever somebody dies and you follow his legacy, it puts you in a category where you don't mourn but you keep on living with the person.

Mandela has left a legacy that can enhance and support us like a shepherd through social times, economic times, through political times. The ethics of what he stood for is massively important."

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