MORE than a thousand children gathered at the Nelson Mandela Museum in Qunu yesterday to pay their respects to Madiba.
Those attending the event included King Sabatha Dalindyebo mayor Nonkoliso Ngqongwa, social development MEC Pemmy Majodina and premier Noxolo Kiviet.
The children sang songs like Nelson Mandela akekho ofana naye (Nelson Mandela you are one of a kind). Others rendered poems praising Mandela for the contribution he made in fighting apartheid.
One was Sibabalwe Sandlana, 10, a Grade 4 learner at Qunu Junior Primary school who said he had been taught about Mandela at school.
“From what I have been told, he was a great man. I am here to pay my respects. May his soul rest in peace,” he said.
Thandokazi Zulayo, 16, of Mthentu village outside Mthatha, who opened the programme with a word of prayer, said she was there to bid farewell to Mandela. “We know that he fought for the freedom of this country and we say he must rest in peace,” she said.
Zulayo said it was for those left behind to carry on where Mandela left off. “We must show our love for him by walking in his footsteps,” she said.
Majodina said: “Tata Mandela loved children, that is why we organised this special prayer meeting for children to pay special tribute to him,” she said.
She said she was happy that the children knew so many things about Mandela, adding “we heard them saying they learnt the spirit of ubuntu”.
Some children were given toys, while others were given T-shirts featuring the face of Nelson Mandela.