Cape Town celebrates Mandela’s life

11 December 2013

Cape Town is gearing up for its tribute to Nelson Mandela at the Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday evening.

The commemorative event – Nelson Mandela: A Life Celebrated – will serve as Cape Town’s memorial service to honour the life of Mandela, the city said in a statement on Tuesday.

The city has allocated R72-million for its week-long programme of events honouring Mandela, the former state president who died at his Johannesburg home last Thursday. The city’s events are in line with the national week of mourning.

On Tuesday night, a remembrance evening was held at OR Tambo community hall in Khayelitsha. An address by poet Don Mattera, stirring performances by choirs including the Masi Choir from Masiphumelele township, as well as inter-faith prayers by community and religious leaders, were part of the evening’s events.

Cape Town also hosted a special joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament – the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces – on Monday to honour and commemorate Mandela.

Some of South Africa’s favourite artists, including Johnny Clegg, Freshlyground and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, have been asked to perform at Wednesday’s tribute event.

Former Springbok rugby player Francois Pienaar who captained the team that won the Rugby World Cup in 1995, Cape Town Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille, and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille will share their memories and impressions of Mandela, the city said.

Shado Twala will be the MC for the evening. There will also be performances by the Bala Brothers, Allou April, and Carla Diamond as well as various choirs.

Transport and safety plans used during the 2010 World Cup have been initiated to ensure things run smoothly. Free public transport will be available for the memorial and funeral services on Wednesday and Sunday.

In an effort to maintain order and safety, the city instituted a free coupon system. By Tuesday morning, all 64 000 coupons had been issued, which was “a wonderful display of Madiba’s great impact on everyone’s lives”, the city said.

Coupon-holders were asked to give away the coupons that they would not be using as “this is the best way of honouring Madiba: ensuring that as many people as possible can attend the event”.

Other events planned by the city include a remembrance evening in Atlantis on Thursday; a night vigial on the Grand Parade on the eve of Mandela’s funeral; and the screening of the national funeral on the Grand Parade on Sunday.

Robben Island, the Drakenstein Correctional Centre, Pollsmoor, Cape Town City Hall and the Grand Parade have been identified as key areas where people are likely to congregate to pay their respects. The city has also assured its residents that there will also be “free and convenient” access to venues and related events close to their homes.

  • Public viewing areas where communities may view the remembrance and funeral services are: the Grand Parade, Atlantis, Durbanville, Khayelitsha, Swartklip, Vygieskraal, Muizenberg.
  • Visit the City of Cape Town’s website for more information:
  • Watch as Mandela surprises Johnny Clegg during his performance of Asimbonanga, which he performed in Frankfurt in 1999

SAinfo reporter and City of Cape Town