State landmarks honour Madiba’s legacy

The Union Buildings and Constitution Hill held special tributes to the former president.

Mourners have gathered to sign special condolence books for Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 6 December 2013. Picture: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Scores of South Africans and tourists are mourning the death of former president Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Friday afternoon.

Visitors there describe Madiba as a selfless man who sacrificed his own ambitions for the common good of the country.

They say the only way to celebrate his life is to carry out the values he stood for.

There's a very sombre mood at the historic site where Mandela took the oath of office as the first democratically elected president of South Africa in 1994.

Flags are flying at half-mast as many people continue to stop by to lay wreaths and pay homage to Madiba's legacy.

Mourners write messages in two condolence books for Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Picture: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN.

A five metre queue has formed with mourners waiting to write their messages of support in the two books placed at the entrance of the Union Buildings.

At the same time, Constitution Hill has remembered the late statesman in its own symbolic way.

A flame of democracy was lit on Friday to represent the flame that Madiba had as a freedom fighter in some of the toughest years under apartheid rule and to remember what he did to make the Constitution a reality.

Picture: Belinda Moses/EWN.

Constitution Hill CEO Petal Thring says the site is a special place for all South Africans and it's fitting that Madiba be remembered there.

"Because of his history here, we thought that it was appropriate to gather together and mourn together for this great icon and all he's done for us."

Thring says Madiba's legacy is alive in the walls filled with political history there.

"We've come together really to light the candle in memory of Nelson Mandela but also in memory of the major work he's done in developing this place."

The candle will stay in the cell where he was once incarcerated in 1956 as he waited to go on trial for treason.

President Jacob Zuma announced Mandela's passing shortly before midnight on Thursday.