A group of soldiers proved their courage, conquering what for many must be their deepest fear, and stepping among the dead, to do their bit for Mandela Day on Monday.
Members of the 6 South African Infantry Battalion and the First City Regiment joined local environmental
activist Angela Mitford-Barberton at the Albany Road Cemetery, near the station.
Barberton, who has being maintaining the cemetery for a while, said it had been targeted by vandals. Tombstones had been moved and some of them broken into, for no apparent reason.
The men helped replace the heavy tombstones – and then they literally walked among the dead.
Climbing down into the crypts, with bones and other human remains floating around them, they used
buckets to drain the flooded tombs.
Earlier, however, they’d been in high spirits, laughing and joking as they cleaned up around the nearby Eluxolweni shelter for boys.
They were clearly enjoying themselves as they picked up litter and cut the grass in the area.
“We are honouring Mr Nelson Mandela in our efforts today,” said Chaplain Ngesi, who led the battalion on behalf
of Colonel Ntsunguzi. “He advocates love of children, so that's how we decided on this shelter, which caters for
homeless children, to spend our 67 minutes for Mandela Day.”
The army is set to return to the shelter on 17 August on a follow-up mission.
Ngesi thanked Makana Municipality, for providing the army with grass cutters and spades.