Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Today is the memorial service for Nelson Mandela, part of a ten-day mourning period before the December 15 burial. Last Saturday was a national Day of Prayer and Reflection. We went to the neighborhood of Nelson Mandela's most recent home in Houghton, a suburb on the northeastern side of Johannesburg.
Crowds in Houghton were blocks long and big. The atmosphere was a blend of sadness, calm, respect and joyful celebration. Hawkers sold Mandela memorabilia. Grieving citizens laid many flowers and lit many candles. And, every now and then loud, frantic, rhythmic singing and dancing erupted.
It was a memorable experience to witness part of South Africa's loving farewell to Madiba (Mandela's clan name). It was like being present for George Washington's funeral.