Source : msn.co.nz and news.yahoo.com
Julia Hollingsworth, NZ NewswireDecember 6, 2013, 1:44 pm
South Africans in New Zealand have expressed their grief over the death of Nelson Mandela.
Ian Mellett, the owner of southafricans.co.nz, a networking forum for South Africans in New Zealand, said he felt shock and sadness after hearing the news the former president had died on Friday morning.
He said Mr Mandela, who was 95, had been likened at times to Mahatma Gandhi – which Mr Mellett thought was a fair comparison.
“He has been a symbol of shining light for millions of oppressed groups around the world.”
Sherelee Clarke, who runs the bi-monthly South African magazine based in Auckland’s North Shore, said she burst into tears when she heard the news.
Ms Clarke was a press photographer in Durban before emigrating to New Zealand in 2010, and had met him several times.
She said he was a people person, who always went out into the crowd to greet people.
Mr Mellett, an active member of the South African community, moved to New Zealand in 1997 with his wife Cathy to find a safe place to raise their family.
He thought it was possible other South Africans in New Zealand immigrated for the same reason.
Mr M was at Ellis Park, Johannesburg, in 1995 on the day Nelson Mandela, the then president, went out to shake the hands of the Springboks and All Blacks before the World Cup final.
Mr Mandela was wearing a Springbok green jersey and a peaked rugby hat, a statement that galvanised South Africa behind their national team.
It was the only time Mr Mellett saw Mr Mandela in person, a time he describes as “absolutely incredible”.
“That’s what really crystalised the term `the rainbow nation’.”
Mr Mellett hopes Mr Mandela’s legacy is for the former president’s dreams for improving the country to be carried out.
According to the 2006 Census, 41,676 people said they were born in South Africa, up from 26,061 in 2001.