All roads led to Mvezo, birthplace of Nelson Mandela, on July 18, where President Jacob Zuma and Madiba’s grandson, Chief Zwelivelile Mandela, led scores of people in the official national celebration of Nelson Mandela Day, on the great man’s 92nd birthday. Madiba, himself, spent the day in Johannesburg with family.
While several thousand local residents of surrounding villages made the trek to Mvezo on foot, reminiscent of a fan walk during the recently concluded Fifa 2010 World Cup, the gleaming cars of dignitaries – 1000 VIPs were expected – snaked along the pitted dirt road that leads from the N2 Highway, about 40 kilometres south of Mthatha.
Those present included Minister of Arts and Culture, Lulu Xingwana, AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, ANC Chief Whip, Mathole Motshekga, head of the UDM, Bantu Holomisa, DA parliamentary leader, Athol Trollip. the President’s wife, Thobeka Madiba, and Chief Mandela’s wife, Anais Grimaud.
President Zuma called on South Africans to emulate the life and principles of Nelson Mandela. The President joined others in planting trees as a contribution to the spirit of volunteerism at the heart of Mandela Day.