By New Worker correspondent
While world leaders flew to South Africa to salute the passing of Nelson Mandela Londoners gathered to pay their own last respects to the man who led the struggle against apartheid to become the first president of free South Africa.
Some lit candles, sang or laid garlands to celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday 5th December at the age of 95. Others brought flowers to lay at the Mandela statue in Parliament Square or by the gates of the nearby South African embassy.
At the embassy Mandela’s goddaughter, Tanya von Ahlefeldt, whose father Jimmy Kantor was his lawyer before also being charged at the Rivonia trial in the 1960s, told the media that: “I think what we have to focus on is the legacy that he’s left, which was dignity and choice for all South Africans.”
Former Labour Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said: “ "It's amazing how one person made so much change. How many people could say they made a nation change the way they think?"
Livingstone’s Tory successor, Boris Johnson, told the media his party had got it
"completely wrong" on Mandela in the 1980s, when Margaret Thatcher called the ANC a terrorist group. He said: "There's no-one really to touch Mandela because plenty of people can claim that they have in some way united their country and brought people together but Mandela's the only one I can think of that basically united the whole world,".