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Song, dance, tears for Mandela in South Africa

December 6, 2013 • World News


Floral tributes to former president Nelson Mandela, pile up beneath a statue of Mandela on Mandela Square at Sandton City, in Johannesburg Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. Mandela died Thursday at his Johannesburg home after a long illness. He was 95. (AP Photo/Athol Moralee)

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Themba Radebe spun slowly in a circle.

First he pointed his cellphone camera at a group of children chanting Nelson Mandela’s name as they waved posters of the anti-apartheid champion. Then pivoting to his right, Radebe aimed his camera at a swaying group of adults who sang in Zulu while rocking and clapping.

A day after Mandela’s death at 95, South Africans of all colors erupted in song, dance and tears Friday in emotional celebrations of the life of the man who bridged this country’s black-white divide and helped avert a race war.

“I don’t think Mr. Mandela belonged to black people,” said Alex Freilingsdorf, a Toyota executive at a Soweto dealership. “He belonged to South Africa.”

Freilingsdorf and other white South Africans mingled among the hundreds of blacks gathered outside a home where Mandela lived as a young lawyer in the rough and tumble Soweto township.

The mood was simultaneously celebratory and somber at the impromptu street festival where Radebe filmed scenes to share Login to read more

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