CapeTalk Celebrating 20 years
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2013: Africa Melane recalls the day that Madiba died

This October, CapeTalk is celebrating its 20th birthday by reliving some of the most impactful stories of the past twenty years, as told by some of our favourite personalities. Click here to view the rest of the stories.

On 5 December 2013, Nelson Mandela passed away at the age of 95, following a lengthy battle with respiratory illness.

Breakfast Show host Kieno Kammies reflected on the plans that major media organisations had put in place in the event of Madiba's passing.

Everybody was preparing for that day, and then that day arrived, and I don't think any one was prepared for it, even though we knew it was coming.

Kieno Kammies, Breakfast Show host

CapeTalk presenter Africa Melane was heading into a Maxwell concert when he received a message from management placing him on standby.

At about 11.30pm, Melane got a call telling him that President Jacob Zuma was calling a press conference. Melane headed to the CapeTalk offices, where a core group of people were waiting to go to air.

And what I saw were tears. People were crying as if their own father had passed away.

Africa Melane, CapeTalk presenter

That was the impact that this man had on the world.

Africa Melane, CapeTalk presenter

Melane went to air shortly after midnight. He recalls being "privileged enough" to be the very first presenter on CapeTalk to speak to CapeTalk listeners about the passing of Madiba.

He had calls from across the world, including one from champion swimmer Ryk Neethling, who phoned from the UK, where South Africans were gathering in Trafalgar Square.

But, Melane said, it was a call with the late Ahmed Kathrada that really touched him.

Up until that point, I was strong. I was a professional broadcaster with a role and a responsibility.

Africa Melane, CapeTalk presenter

He recalls Kathrada telling him: "I am so lost. All of my friends are gone. I don't know what I will do."

To have a man so old, so frail, saying that with a quiver in his voice... It broke us all down.

Africa Melane, CapeTalk presenter

Melane and Kammies reflected on the following 10 days, which were a mixture of mourning and celebration, and the memorial service at the FNB Stadium.

Kammies recalled viewing Madiba's body, which was lying in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

It's a snapshot of my memory that I will never, ever forget.

Kieno Kammies, Breakfast Show host.

Watch Africa Melane reflect on the passing of Nelson Mandela below.


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