Mandela is gone, and so the work begins

As a nation buries her favourite son, it is now up to the new generation to carry the country forward.

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    The atmosphere in the stadium for Nelson Mandela's memorial was electric. There was so much energy and emotion I could feel it reverberating off everyone I spoke to outside. The incessant rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of those inside or seeking shelter under the seating area.

    For hours, a group of a hundred or so marched and sang around the interior of the stadium. I'm not sure any of them saw any of the speeches but they obviously didn't care - this wasn't about Barack Obama or Jacob Zuma or Mr President of Anywhere. It was about them, and the man they believed in before anybody else.

    A security guard called Edward Lincoln told me the rain was a good omen, that it was washing away apartheid and that the heavens and ancestors across Africa were mourning Madiba.

    A woman called Sasa, who I met on Vilakazi street after the memorial, told me that the people were singing so loudly so that they could drown out their sorrow.

    A young boy called Nhlanhla said he wanted to be like Mandela, and when I asked him how he said he would "be good and go to school". I think the former president would have been pleased to hear that.

    Everyone I spoke to was proud and grateful of what South Africa and Mandela achieved, but each was also cognizant that a lot more needs to be done. There is still poverty and gaping inequality - but now, truly, the baton has been passed to the current and the next generation. It is their's to carry.


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