Cape Town holds festive Madiba vigil

Hundreds at the Grand Parade say they are not there to mourn but to celebrate Mandela’s life.

Capetonians hold a vigil for Nelson Mandela at the Grand Parade, 14 December 2013. Picture: Mia Spies.

CAPE TOWN - There is a festive atmosphere on the Grand Parade where a night vigil is being held for former president Nelson Mandela.

Organisers say this is not a sombre night but a time of celebration.

People there are remembering and embracing Madiba's sense of humour and his love for dancing.

Local favourites such as Freshly Ground and Arno Carstens are among the performers there.

Most people are singing and dancing, with some doing their own version of Mandela's iconic dance, the so-called Madiba jive.

Others have their children on their shoulders, clapping their hands and shuffling to the music.

Many people say they wanted their children to be part of the historic event and know from a young age what Madiba has done for South Africans.

People are also writing messages for Mandela that will be compiled into a commemorative book.

All pictures: Mia Spies/EWN.

The public is being urged to return to the Grand parade on Sunday to view live broadcasts of Mandela's funeral.

He will be buried on Sunday morning in his childhood hometown of Qunu in the Eastern Cape.

Mandela died at the age of 95 on Thursday last week after a lengthy battle with a recurring lung infection.

Meanwhile, on Vilakazi Street in Soweto, hundreds have also gathered for a vigil to celebrate the struggle icon.