SA mourns its greatest son
By fstimes On 6 Dec, 2013 At 01:00 PM | Categorized As Columns, Local, Mandela Special Edition, News, Provincial | With 0 Comments

IN a snap survey around Bloemfontein last night people from across the political, social and racial divide expressed shock and pain at the death of the founding president of democratic South Africa, Nelson Mandela, who passed on Thursday night. Below are the views expressed by some of the people who spoke to Free State Times senior reporter Martin Makoni about the passing on of the anti-apartheid struggle icon:

Lionel Dicks, 38, a motor vehicle assessor from Heidedal, Bloemfontein: “I am heart-sore. The passing on of Nelson Mandela has come as a big shock to me. We know he has been ill for a long time but it is just painful that he is no more. We have benefited a lot from his fight for freedom. I consider him a legend. Even though he is gone, he will forever be remembered for everything he did for humanity. He taught us a lot about life from the way he conducted himself. He is a hero to me, an icon.”

Gift Mathokotsi, 18, a financial management student at Motheo FET College, from Bloemfontein: “Nelson Mandela is just human like all of us and we knew this day would come at some point. It’s not easy though to accept it. I am disappointed with his passing on. The freedom that we are enjoying today is all because of him. I wouldn’t be walking in town at this time of the night if it wasn’t for his efforts. I would have needed a dompass to be here but thanks to him I’m here now enjoying my freedom. I am not celebrating his passing on but I’m grateful for what he did for this country. We will always appreciate the work he has left behind.”

Nkosi Tsotetsi, 29, a film producer, from Bloemfontein: “This is very painful to me. It’s a very sad day to me. The man did a lot for the people of this country. All I want to say is that we, as young, the next vote should be dedicated to Nelson Mandela so that the ANC stays in power. That’s all I can say.”

Doodoo Matong, 25, musician, from Bloemfontein: “It’s not easy. It is painful that Nelson Mandela is gone but I feel we should let him go. It is time for him to rest. He has done his bit for South Africa and humanity as a whole. Ninety-five years is a long time. He fought for our freedom and he served us well. We should let him rest in peace and he will forever be our hero.”

Thabo Mokobori, 24, a mechanical engineering student at the Central University of Technology, from Welkom: “I am traumatised. I heard from a friend that Nelson Mandela was no more and I couldn’t believe it. Mandela fought for our freedom immensely. This country wouldn’t be what it is today if it wasn’t for him. I personally don’t know much about the struggle for democracy in this country but from what I have heard, I believe the man did a lot for this country. I really appreciate everything he has done for the country. My elders always tell me a lot about him. He is an icon.”

Tumane Lesetla, 26, a financial management and economics lecturer at Motheo FET College, in Bloemfontein: “Nelson Mandela was a great man. I think it is comforting that he passed on at that age because I feel that he lived a full life. That doesn’t make it less painful though because we have lost an iconic figure, a man who fought tirelessly for a better South Africa. I started lecturing at the age of 20. This was not possible for most black people who came before me because the apartheid system didn’t allow that. I am actually living my dream today. My parents couldn’t do that. Most people in their generation ended up doing jobs that they did not really like.”

Evan Booth, 57, a Bloemfontein taxi driver: “I think Nelson Mandela opened the doors for a new era in this country. He changed everything and allowed people to relate differently to each other with respect. He created a legacy and I wish that all those who will come after him will follow it. His death came as a big shock to me. It was expected of course, but it’s just a big shock. I would say let him rest in peace. He played his part for the country. His fight is over. It’s time for him to rest. I am worried though that we will never have another leader like him.”

Mphomela Samuel, 27, a security guard from Botshabelo: “I have been badly affected by the news of Nelson Mandela’s death. I am shocked. May he rest in peace. We are living in peace today because of him. I am actually worried about the future of this country now. I hope we will remain united. Mandela did well in uniting the people of this country.”

Wouter Delport, 39, a security guard from Bloemfontein: “This is a very sad day for South Africa. A great leader has passed on. I thought it was a joke when I heard it the first time. I learnt a lot from that man: freedom of speech, humanity and the real meaning of peace. He is a great man.”

Monique Jacobs, 18, just completed matric, from Bloemfontein: “It is traumatising, to say the least. Even though I wasn’t born when this country was under apartheid, I know the hardships that the people of this country went through. It was a very difficult period but Nelson Mandela stood up against it and fought for democracy. I am not sure where the country will go from here.”

Chea Abrahams, 26, a social science and history teacher at Heidedal Secondary School, Bloemfontein: “I was watching television with friends when the news broke. I was not really paying attention. My friend just started crying and that’s when I realised that Nelson Mandela is gone. We have not stopped talking about Mandela since that time. Lots of questions are going through our minds. I am traumatised by the news. He was my personal hero. I know he has been ill for some time but I was just hoping that the Lord would give him more time. He is one man that I always looked up to.”


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