Nelson Mandela square
Hero and role model - at the Nelson Mandela square
Among all the new sights, sounds and experiences of Johannesburgh, Basetsana (15) and her friend Precious (14) are drawn to the huge bronze statue of their hero and role model, Nelson Mandela.
His face is on the news on television, in their schoolbooks and on the covers of books. Mr Mandela is the person South Africans so often talk about. He is revered for his wise and steady leadership of the nation at the end of the apartheid era.
They dance in and out of the huge legs of the statue, hug it and peer up at the face of the man they admire.
The moment is made even more poignant because the man himself, now in his nineties, is in hospital at the time. The media are speculationg that he may never return to his home in the city suburbs. Fortunately, he does.
For a nation which still needs their figurehead, there are tears and fears among those gathered in the square that day. South Africans want to feel closer to the man they call 'Tata Madiba' or 'Father of the Madiba' (the clan of which he is a member).
Basetsana and Precious know that his clan name is much more important than his surname, as it refers to the ancestor. Madiba was the name of a Thembu chief who ruled in the Transkei in the 18th century. It is very polite to use someone’s clan name and the girls want to show their respect.