Cape Town commemorates Mandela

December 7, 2013

[This article demonstrates the kind of writing I was producing at Flow Communications for their client, South African Tourism. It reflects the kind of “rainbow nation” narrative that proved popular for their blog, as well as some of the SEO-driven principles towards keywords and linking.]

Cape Town, South Africa’s ‘Mother City’, and the legacy of Nelson Mandela are inextricably linked. This is where he spent many years in prison, and where, upon his release, he also spent five years in Parliament, located in the city centre, as president of the country.

On Friday morning, following the news of Nelson Mandela’s passing, I took to the streets of Cape Town to where people were going, what kind of mood has settled over the city, and if there was any physical sign of the great loss the world had just experienced.

I was also motivated by a simple question: what now? So much of the world, never mind this city, has been changed simply by his presence in it, and now, only his legacy remains. I think the question will take a lot longer to answer.

On this, the first morning of a world without Nelson Mandela, ordinary people, Capetonians and visitors alike, were simply reacting to the news, and visiting the sites that helped them process it.

St George’s Cathedral, located at the foot of the Company’s Garden in the heart of the city, and the City Hall were obvious gathering points.

Outside parliament, flags flew at half mast. And in special message books, on noticeboards, and even just on the sides of fences and walls, spontaneous messages of love and appreciation for Tata Madiba started to appear. It was a city tinged with both sadness and celebration.