They came in their thou­sands to re­joice

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - MPILETSO MOTUMI

FOR AN event like the ANC 105 years cel­e­bra­tion, Don Nkomo started his day in the early hours of the morn­ing.

The 75-year-old ven­dor got to Or­lando Sta­dium in Soweto at 2am to start set­ting up his food stall.

“We sell where we can. At soc­cer games and big events like this one,” said Nkomo.

He works with his son Lungile, who also ar­rived early from Belle­vue East to make sure the day would go with­out a hitch.

Be­fore they could set up, they had to first wait for the of­fi­cials to check their items and the hy­giene of their equip­ment. Then they were given a lo­ca­tion to set up their sta­tions.

“I spe­cialise in chips and ko­tas, and the braai meat and pap spe­cials. It’s not al­ways a profit but we try hard. It’s also very de­pen­dent on the peo­ple and what they are look­ing for. It’s al­ways a gam­ble.”

By the time Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma was done with his speech, busi­ness had started to pick up for Nkomo.

His vocation has sus­tained him for 10 years, and he in­tends to con­tinue with it.

When Rita Mkele, Nosihle Mkhulisi and Amanda No­zom­bile weren’t sing­ing their favourite Strug­gle songs out­side the sta­dium, they were chang­ing into var­i­ous out­fits to suit their mood.

“Our free­dom was fought for, this is the only or­gan­i­sa­tion that truly recog­nises a rain­bow na­tion. I will never join any other party, no mat­ter what,” said Mkele.

Though Mat­shidiso Sekele and Zandile Nkosi were also big fans of the ANC, they said they wanted Zuma to step down.

“We re­ally hope the party cleans it­self up. We want eco­nomic eman­ci­pa­tion, free ed­u­ca­tion and our land back – all in our life­time,” said Sekele.

The women chose to dress in mil­i­tary colours for the event, sig­ni­fy­ing their fight­ing spirit.

Some of the older women and grannies who were at the sta­dium shared some of the same sen­ti­ments.

Mankopane Sempe and Maki Din­galo both said they would al­ways sup­port the ANC be­cause it af­forded them the op­por­tu­nity to take their chil­dren to no-fee schools and be part of feed­ing schemes.

Yes­ter­day’s event was well at­tended. Those who could not find seat­ing inside the sta­dium chose to pic­nic out­side be­fore the rain started again.

There were also sev­eral dance groups that were pro­vid­ing en­ter­tain­ment.

The Maja Ntja Se­sotho tra­di­tional group said they danced to keep their cul­ture alive.

“We prac­tise ev­ery day for three hours. We get a great re­cep­tion at the dif­fer­ent events we per­form at,” said group leader Mpolo­keng Nh­lapo.

At One Na­tion House of Art, the girls and boys who learn drama, poetry, pantsula dance and tra­di­tional dance are al­ways ex­press­ing them­selves.

At the cel­e­bra­tion yes­ter­day, they got the crowd go­ing while prac­tis­ing their dance moves be­fore heading out to en­ter­tain the crowd.

Dance teacher Mathabo Dyasi said the group was formed in 2001 and had been go­ing strong since then.

“It’s all about keep­ing them busy and away from neg­a­tive in­flu­ences like drugs, crime and teenage preg­nancy,” he said.

The group is based in Mead­ow­lands, Soweto, and per­forms of­ten at wed­dings, con­certs and par­ties.

De­spite the over­cast weather, many peo­ple who came to sup­port the ANC and cel­e­brate stayed on PIC­TURE: MATTHEWS BALOYI through the rain.

Some bought branded cloth­ing and caps to keep the rain at bay and oth­ers ran for shel­ter inside the sta­dium.

PET PROJECT: AN MK Mil­i­tary Vet­er­ans As­so­ci­a­tion mem­ber had a dog on his shoul­der dur­ing Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s January 8 ad­dress at Or­lando Sta­dium for the 105th an­niver­sary of the ANC.


GOT TO HAND IT TO THEM: These sup­port­ers made their views heard at the 105th birth­day cel­e­bra­tions.


EN­JOY­ING THE MO­MENT: ANC mem­bers at­tend the cel­e­bra­tion event in Soweto yes­ter­day.


AT­TEN­TIVE: An MKMVA mem­ber dur­ing Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s ad­dress.


IT’S THEIR PARTY: De­spite the rain, thou­sands of ANC mem­bers filled the sta­dium for the cel­e­bra­tions.


IN GOOD SPIR­ITS: Win­nie Madik­ize­laMan­dela ar­rives at Or­lando Sta­dium for the ANC’s 105th cel­e­bra­tion.


EL­E­GANT: Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma with his wives Thobeka Madiba Zuma and Glo­ria Bongek­ile Ngema ar­riv­ing at the Sand­ton Con­ven­tion Cen­tre for the ANC gala din­ner.

COLOUR­FUL: An ANC sup­porter in a jovial mood at the rally. PIC­TURE: EPA

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