How Cape Town Will Honour Madiba
Needless to say, the news of Nelson Mandela’s recent passing shocked and saddened the entire world. Practically every world leader expressed their condolences to the family and the nation of South Africa. Celebrations of his life and accomplishments, sometimes quiet and sometimes slightly raucous, were to be found in every corner of the world. Naturally, perhaps the greatest sadness was felt in South Africa itself, a country that Madiba (his South African nickname) steered away from apartheid and set on the course of the democracy that it enjoys today. Every city in South Africa has planned its own special events to commemorate this great man. But, in many ways, perhaps no city feels a connection to this historical figure more than Cape Town itself.
The Tumultuous past
Most people know that Mandela was imprisoned for a very long time for his beliefs, but not everyone knows that a great part of the time was spent at a notorious prison at the edge of Cape Town, known as Robben Island. Perhaps for this reason, the residents of Cape Town feel a special connection to Mandela, perhaps tinged with a little sadness knowing that he spent so many years imprisoned almost within eyesight. It is therefore not surprising that within just a few days of his passing, the city government held an emergency meeting on a Sunday, the first time in living memory, to discuss exactly what events would be scheduled to mark his passing and to prepare a budget to fund any events. Without too much argument or discussion, the City Council decided to allocate R 72 million to fund any events and to provide Cape Town residents with a dignified and somewhat private and personal way to express their own condolences.
Some Very Special Celebrations
Cape Town undoubtedly wants to mark the passing of Madiba in as special a way possible. They organised a special remembrance event for Wednesday, December 11, just less than a week after his passing, which was held at the famous Cape Town Stadium, the scene of many glorious FIFA World Cup events. But there were also events planned for City Hall as well as at the Grand Parade. To make it easier for residents and visitors alike, the City Council also agreed to provide free bus services to many of the events, including the Grand Parade, with two major bus lines, MyCiTi and Golden Arrow providing the free service. Part of the City Council’s budget was destined to cover the bus operators’ costs for all of these events.
A Special Relationship
The mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille, actually belongs to the opposition party. Nonetheless, she seems to have always held a very close relationship with Mandela. She recounted tearfully after his death that he would call her every year on her birthday, praising her for being his favorite opposition politician. She recounted that Madiba had also asked her to be on the board of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Foundation, a high honour indeed. She was also proud to point out that Cape Town gave Mandela a special award, the Freedom of the City of Cape Town 15 years ago, an honour reserved for a select few.
Visiting Cape Town in Comfort
Cape Town will always remember Madiba, just as visitors to this enchanting city will always remember their stay here. The good news is that in this modern city, finding accommodation in Cape Town is not a big challenge. With modern accommodation that boasts many of the latest state-of-the-art technologies and conveniences, any visitor will find themselves resting comfortably in the lap of luxury.
Image courtesy of: freedigitalphotos.net Cecelia