There were fears that Mandela’s passing on December 5th would send his homeland spiralling into violence and civil unrest, but so far all that has swept the nation is a hushed and mournful stillness, according to an Irish man working in the East Cape of South Africa.
Joe Dalton who works on a wind farm on Jefferys Bay said “I was on site late on Thursday night overseeing a project when his death was announced on the radio. The minute the news broke, work stopped. Everyone was upset and the wind turbines haven’t been running since.
“Although he was very sick and it was his time to go, the country is in total shock right now. Jefferys Bay is quiet at the moment since loads of people are leaving to pay respects at Madiba’s hometown in Qunu and the prison he spent many years in at Robben Island. An official week of mourning is to start on Monday though.
“There have been a lot of big figures on the news urging the people here to respect Mandela’s legacy by continuing to live in peace and harmony including F. W De Clerk [South Africa’s last white president and a huge anti-apartheid figure] and Archbishop Tutu was on too,” he said.
Native South African Jabquea Kgabu said “to hear of Madiba dying was a really sad story because he was one of the biggest heroes of our country.”
A Jefferys Bay local Divan Htander told thecity.ie “this is a very big deal for all of us in South Africa. I think it will take some time for the country to recover, maybe years. It is a confusing time for our people and the government but I do hope we will be able to live in peace.”
A memorial service will be held for the anti-apartheid hero at the FNB stadium in Johannesburg on Tuesday that many international figures including President Michael D Higgins is to attend and a more private funeral service will be held for him later in the week.