Mourning, Honoring, Celebrating Madiba

Nelson Mandela was buried yesterday (Sunday), and South Africa’s official period of mourning came to an end. After listening to the funeral on the radio Sunday morning, I thought I was finished mourning too.

But I hadn’t yet been to Mandela’s house in Houghton, where he actually passed away on December 5. My friend Michelle, who just flew into Joburg this weekend, wanted to go. So we went to Houghton on Sunday evening.

I actually thought we might be too late and that things would have died down in Houghton by last night. Once again, I was wrong. The street was still a huge, living, breathing memorial to Madiba.

Boy and flowers

The memorial in front of Mandela’s Houghton House.

Sea of flowers

The flowers were piled up two or three feet high.

Yellow flowers

Fresh flowers.

Mandela note

Note to Madiba in Afrikaans.

Merchandise salesman

Mandela’s street was lined with vendors. I liked this stand especially — the vendors set up their merchandise on the backs of the portable toilets.

Cell phone

There was an impromptu gathering in front of the barrier, where people were singing and dancing and reciting poetry.

Woman

Lady dancing.

Guy speaking

I’m not sure who this guy is but he took on the role of emcee for the singing and dancing and poetry reciting.

Three candles

There were so many candles burning — I could smell the wax from several feet away. Occasionally the candles melted together and started larger fires, which the security guards extinguished.

The vibe in Houghton was really beautiful. I’m glad I went yesterday to say goodbye one last time.

Repose en Paix

Rest in peace, Madiba.

This isn’t quite the end of my 2Summers Mandela tribute — I’ve got one more post coming.

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26 Comments

  • Reply Kathryn McCullough December 16, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Heather. It’s sad to lose such an amazing man. Your words and photos offer a beautiful tribute.

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

  • Reply UnderAnAfricanSun December 17, 2013 at 5:28 am

    Beautiful tribute. We were able to go a week ago Sunday, it was so moving. There were a lot of flowers then, but from your photos I can see there are many more now. The singing and dancing was amazing as well. Thanks for sharing your tribute.

  • Reply UnderAnAfricanSun December 17, 2013 at 5:28 am

    Beautiful tribute. We were able to go a week ago Sunday, it was so moving. There were a lot of flowers then, but from your photos I can see there are many more now. The singing and dancing was amazing as well. Thanks for sharing your tribute.

    • Reply 2summers December 17, 2013 at 8:55 am

      My pleasure. Yeah, I’m actually wondering when those flowers will be removed and what will happen to them. That will be a major job. I think it’s the same in Sandton, too.

  • Reply Catherine December 17, 2013 at 7:18 am

    Thank you ,this is really moving for those of us that cannot participate physically in the celebration of Madiba’s life and heritage

  • Reply Catherine December 17, 2013 at 7:18 am

    Thank you ,this is really moving for those of us that cannot participate physically in the celebration of Madiba’s life and heritage

  • Reply GARY SHER December 17, 2013 at 9:44 am

    HI THERE I HAVE SEEN YOUR PICTURES FROM NELSON MANDELA’S HOUSE THEY ARE EXCELLENT. WELL DONE
    FROM
    GARY SHER

  • Reply GARY SHER December 17, 2013 at 9:44 am

    HI THERE I HAVE SEEN YOUR PICTURES FROM NELSON MANDELA’S HOUSE THEY ARE EXCELLENT. WELL DONE
    FROM
    GARY SHER

  • Reply GARY SHER December 17, 2013 at 10:56 am

    HI THERE
    I WILL MISS NELSON MANDELA, REMEMBERING HIM FOR HIS HEROIC AND SELFLESS LEADERSHIP OF SOUTH AFRICA IN GUIDING OUR COUNTRY TO FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY.
    FROM
    GARY SHER

  • Reply GARY SHER December 17, 2013 at 10:56 am

    HI THERE
    I WILL MISS NELSON MANDELA, REMEMBERING HIM FOR HIS HEROIC AND SELFLESS LEADERSHIP OF SOUTH AFRICA IN GUIDING OUR COUNTRY TO FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY.
    FROM
    GARY SHER

  • Reply Sine December 17, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    wonderful pictures, thanks for sharing! Not having been there I’ve had to rely on the pictures my friends took, and yours, as always, are especially poignant. Makes you feel as if you were there. Thank you!

    • Reply 2summers December 17, 2013 at 6:15 pm

      Thanks Sine! I’m glad you like them.

  • Reply Sine December 17, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    wonderful pictures, thanks for sharing! Not having been there I’ve had to rely on the pictures my friends took, and yours, as always, are especially poignant. Makes you feel as if you were there. Thank you!

    • Reply 2summers December 17, 2013 at 6:15 pm

      Thanks Sine! I’m glad you like them.

  • Reply Linda Sneed December 18, 2013 at 5:14 am

    Hi heather, that photo of the lady dancing i saw in the Oregonian !!!

    Linda Sneed

  • Reply Linda Sneed December 18, 2013 at 5:14 am

    Hi heather, that photo of the lady dancing i saw in the Oregonian !!!

    Linda Sneed

  • Reply Dorothee Trubshaw December 18, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Hi Kathy,
    Sometimes I feel that you are the embodiment of the part of my soul which I left behind when I left South Africa.

    I’m not sure if you know what the Afrikaans message says:
    (bearing in mind that Mandela was once public enemy #1)

    Mr Mandela
    Thank you for ultimately being a peacemaker for us.
    Matt 6:9
    Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be named the children of God.

    This is particularly poignant as it sums up the intellectual and emotional reversal of beliefs that most of us privileged whites had before and after April 1994.

    RIP MADIBA

    Lotsa luv, Dee

    • Reply 2summers December 18, 2013 at 12:20 pm

      Thanks so much, Dee. This is a beautiful comment. I didn’t know what the Afrikaans note said so thank you for the translation.

      By the way, my name is Heather, not Kathy 🙂

  • Reply Dorothee Trubshaw December 18, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Hi Kathy,
    Sometimes I feel that you are the embodiment of the part of my soul which I left behind when I left South Africa.

    I’m not sure if you know what the Afrikaans message says:
    (bearing in mind that Mandela was once public enemy #1)

    Mr Mandela
    Thank you for ultimately being a peacemaker for us.
    Matt 6:9
    Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be named the children of God.

    This is particularly poignant as it sums up the intellectual and emotional reversal of beliefs that most of us privileged whites had before and after April 1994.

    RIP MADIBA

    Lotsa luv, Dee

    • Reply 2summers December 18, 2013 at 12:20 pm

      Thanks so much, Dee. This is a beautiful comment. I didn’t know what the Afrikaans note said so thank you for the translation.

      By the way, my name is Heather, not Kathy 🙂

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