The fourth edition of the Mandela Remembrance Walk & Run took place on Sunday 9 December 2018 and was attended by over thirty thousand South Africans who came to pay tribute and celebrate the life of the late icon, Nelson Mandela. The event also marked the end of the Nelson Mandela centenary celebrations for the year (Madiba would have turned 100 in 2018).
The race was hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, together with the Gauteng provincial government, and was attended by dignitaries including, Gauteng Premier David Makhura; Nelson Mandela Foundation Trustee Tokyo Sexwale; Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, Minister of Sport and Recreation Tokozile Xasa; and Gauteng MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation Faith Mazibuko.
“South Africans have paid warm and special tribute this year to Madiba and Ma Albertina Sisulu, and this event represents another opportunity to celebrate these icons while enjoying a fun, festive day out with the whole family,” said Mazibuko ahead of the event.
This year's race saw the introduction of a 21km half-marathon, in addition to the 5km walk and the 10km run from previous years. This proved to be popular, with half the entries for the day being for the 21km half-marathon.
The 10km and the 21km races started at the Union Buildings, while the 5km walk started at the Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre. The event was attended by thousands of people, who filled the streets of Pretoria carrying South African flags and placards reading, “We love you Madiba”, “Remember Madiba” and “I am the legacy.”
The day started with a wreath-laying ceremony led by Gauteng Premier David Makhura, Nelson Mandela Foundation Trustee Tokyo Sexwale and members of the Mandela and Sisulu family. Speaking during the ceremony, Sexwale reminded participants that, “Nelson Mandela will never die, and that he lives in all of us”.
Makhura led the 5km walk alongside Sexwale, Lesufi, Albertina Sisulu’s granddaughter, Ntsiki Sisulu, and Ndileka Mandela. The race retraced the route of the motorcade that carried Mandela’s body from 1 Military Hospital to the Union Buildings. The 5km walkers started at Kgosi Mampuru II Street, then used Madiba Street, passing Lilian Ngoyi Square,the Palace of Justice, Tshwane House and Sammy Marks Square before ending at the Union Buildings.
Sports stars who attended included long-distance runner Stephen Mokoka, as well as former footballers Shaun Bartlett (and his family), Kalusha Bwalya and current footballer Jabulani Mendu. US Open wheelchair tennis semi-finalist Kgothatso Montjane, and Comrades Marathon winners Ludwick Mamabolo and Charne Bosman also participated.
The crowds sang struggle songs and some local favourites such as Shosholoza as they filled the streets of Pretoria.
The winners of the races were:
- 10km women: Putendo Nyahoza
- 10km men: Desmond Mokgobu
- 21km women: Mamorallo Tjoka
- 21km men: Philani Buthelezi
Thanking the crowds and members of the Mandela family after the race, Makhura said Mandela wanted everyone to live in this country as equals and to live together in harmony and in dignity.
“That is why every year we will come here and celebrate his life. Mandela’s dream was that no one must be left out. Every year we remember his legacy and every year we do more to realise his dream for this country,” he said.