Machel plants vegetable garden
QUNU was a hive of activity yesterday as locals celebrated Nelson Mandela's birthday. But, at the home of the struggle icon, it was a quiet affair
Mandela flew home last week to spend his 93rd birthday in the Transkei. Media camped outside his house the entire day to get a glimpse of the elderly former statesman, but the wait was in vain.
Wife Graca Machel was, however, hard at work and got her hands dirty helping villagers prepare a vegetable garden at the multi-purpose community centre.
Machel and Mandela's daughter Zenani spent two hours at the centre where Machel chatted to the children and then worked in the garden.
She arrived to a joyous welcome from children who sang a "Happy Birthday Madiba" song.
"Tata loves you all my children, but he cannot be with you to celebrate his day because he is tired and is relaxing," Machel told the enthusiastic children, before handing out T-shirts from the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.
The children were later treated to cake, chips and sweets. Machel, who did not grant interviews to journalists, left for the garden where she planted cabbage, spinach and carrot seeds.
President Jacob Zuma also visited Mandela at his Qunu home to wish him well on his birthday yesterday afternoon.
During his visit, Zuma gave Madiba an architect's impression of the Nelson Mandela Legacy Bridge that will be constructed across the Mbhashe River between Ndondolo Village in Dutywa and Mvezo village in Mthatha.
In the Transkei, a lot of work was being done to honour Mandela. The Nelson Mandela Museum restored the ruins of the primary school Madiba attended. At the nearby Mqhekezweni village, where Madiba grew up, there was preservation of historic trees and construction of an imbizo site where traditional council meetings will be held.
Earlier in the morning, grandson Mandla Mandela delivered the family message at Mvezo where tree planting and cleaning of a school took place.
Meanwhile, Cabinet ministers and MECs were in Mthatha devoting 67 minutes to mark Mandela Day in community work.
Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu joined members of the army, navy and pupils to convert an old school into a community hall at Kwa-Stwayi outside Mthatha.