Mandela release the hit in Soweto

THE 20-year commemoration of former president Nelson Mandela's release from prison overshadowed President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address in parts of Soweto yesterday.

THE 20-year commemoration of former president Nelson Mandela's release from prison overshadowed President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address in parts of Soweto yesterday.

The address, which started at 7pm, clashed with a movie preview of Mandela's life story at Maponya Mall in Klipspruit - also at 7pm.

More than 300 people were expected at the premiere and restaurants in the mall were preparing to host them late yesterday afternoon.

Moses Hlongwane, of News Cafe, said although most people would be heading to the centre's movie section, their bar would be open.

"There is nothing organised for the State of the Nation Address because we have been focusing on the Madiba celebrations," he said.

"The restaurant will be open and our television will be switched on for those who wish to watch the address."

Popular tourist destination Vilakazi Street in Orlando West - the location of Mandela's former home which is now a museum - hosts two of Soweto's most popular eateries and Soweto TV. One of the restaurants, Sakhumzi, was kept busy all day commemorating Mandela's freedom.

"It seems the Madiba freedom celebrations have overshadowed the State of the Nation Address," said Benjamin Mamatela of Sakhumzi.

He did not know what time Zuma was expected to speak, but said the restaurant's televisions would be switched on for interested customers.

He said staff had been talking about Zuma, not only about his address. The street's other restaurant, Nambitha's, is closed for renovations.

Soweto TV also broadcast a feature on Mandela, said station manager Elise Viljoen yesterday.

The township's largest radio station, Soweto FM, had been mentioning both Zuma's address and the Mandela event, with the latter taking preference. - Sapa

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