Johannesburg: Doing its bit to honour Nelson Mandela, Cricket South Africa today named the ongoing ODI series against India as `dedication to late Nelson Mandela` after the anti-apartheid icon passed away.
Late yesterday evening, South Africa was thrown into a solemn mood when it was announced that Mandela had passed away at the age of 95. The entire country is in mourning, for this is their biggest loss as a society.
Life goes on though, and Cricket South Africa has confirmed that the Indian tour, in particular the ODI series, will proceed as scheduled. The second ODI is slated to be played in Durban on Sunday, and both the teams have already reached there.
"As part of the greater South African family of former president Nelson Mandela, CSA expresses its sincere condolences to the family of Madiba, to the nation and the world," commented CSA President Chris Nenzani.
"His love for sport and his appreciation of what it could do to unify the country is legendary. He was a keen amateur boxer in his youth but he loved all sporting codes across the board and in it he saw the foundations for a healthy future for all the youth of the country.
"Nothing assuredly gave him greater pleasure than being part of the team that brought the FIFA World Cup to South Africa in 2010 and seeing what a wonderful celebration of sport, comradeship and humanity the tournament was. CSA dedicates the current series against the Indian team to the memory of Mandela," he added.
Mandela had been battling health issues in recent months, including a recurring lung infection that led to numerous hospitalisations.
Mandela, who emerged from prison after 27 years to lead South Africa out of decades of apartheid before becoming the country`s first black leader, had faced several health scares.
His most recent hospital stay spanning over three months was his longest since he walked free in 1990.
While life for many people has carried on, in terms of their daily activities, quite a few thousands have gathered at Mandela`s two residences in Johannesburg. The first is at Houghton, in the north-eastern part of the city, where the people`s champion breathed his last. The other is located at Soweto, an area bordering the mining belt in the south of Johannesburg. This was the residence where he first returned, after serving his 27-year prison sentence.
At both locations, people are singing and dancing in celebration of the life of arguably the greatest South Africa to have lived, the one man who united the people of this country and took them on a path to progress. There is no official word on the final rites.
"Every boy and girl playing in CSA`s various youth tournaments this month is blessed to have been born into a democratic, non-racial and non-sexist country that is, of course, Madiba`s gift to the nation.
"His love for his fellow human being has been well documented and especially for children where he has lent his name to various charitable projects," said CSA`s chief executive Haroon Lorgat, whilst paying his respects to Mandela.