Hundreds gather outside Mandela’s home


6 December 2013

Hundreds of South Africans began gathered outside Nelson Mandela’s home in Houghton, Johannesburg on Friday morning as news spread of the great man’s passing.

The mood was sombre but also celebratory as the crowds sang freedom songs and the national anthem.

Others, many of whom were still in their pyjamas, were laying down flowers near the property, while others lit candles and clutched pictures of the struggle icon.

There is a high police presence, and roads leading to the home have been blocked off.

President Jacob Zuma announced the death of Madiba just before midnight on Thursday in a televised address to the nation. He said Madiba had died peacefully at 8.50pm.

Meanwhile, tributes are pouring in from all corners of the world.

United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron said Madiba was a towering figure in our time, a legend in life and now in death – a true global hero. “Across the country he loved, they will be mourning a man who was the embodiment of grace. Meeting him was one of the great honours of my life.”

Former US president Bill Clinton tweeted a picture of himself holding hands with Mandela, saying: “I will never forget my friend Madiba.”

The president of Fifa, world football’s governing body, Sepp Blatter, also took to the social network, saying: “My respects to an extraordinary person, probably one of the greatest humanists of our time.”

Zuma said flags around the country would be flown at half-mast from Friday until after the funeral.