A nighttime laser display on Table Mountain in Cape Town pays tribute to late president Nelson Mandela. Picture: ERIC MILLER
A nighttime laser display on Table Mountain in Cape Town pays tribute to late president Nelson Mandela. Picture: ERIC MILLER

FORMER president Nelson Mandela, who died in Johannesburg on Thursday, is being honoured by the Western Cape provincial government in Cape Town this week with evening laser projections of his face on Table Mountain.

The display will run every night until December 16. It will be most visible from 9pm and switched off at midnight.

The provincial government said the iconic mountain was a significant landmark for Mandela during his years of imprisonment on Robben Island.

"While the apartheid authorities tried to break the spirit of Robben Island prisoners, Madiba and his fellow freedom fighters were inspired by one of the Cape’s iconic natural wonders to resist those attempts," it said.

It quoted Mandela’s words: "During the many years of incarceration on Robben Island, we often looked across Table Bay at the magnificent silhouette of Table Mountain. To us on Robben Island, Table Mountain was a beacon of hope. It represented the mainland to which we would one day return."

The African National Congress (ANC) in the Western Cape said on Monday it would lay wreaths at correctional centres where Mandela spent part of his 27 years of confinement.

He was initially incarcerated at a maximum security prison on Robben Island, transferred to Pollsmoor in 1982 and finally in 1988 to Victor Verster prison, now known as Drakenstein correctional centre, where he spent the three years before his release in 1990.

Cape Town remembers

The City of Cape Town has been hosting various events to honour Mandela since his passing last week. Most of the events have been centred on the Grand Parade on Darling Street in the city centre, where Mandela made his first speech after being released from prison in 1990.

The city said 26,000 coupons had by Monday been collected for its own Mandela tribute event, at the Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday.

The city has introduced a coupon system for entry into the stadium, for the safety of attendees. A maximum of five coupons are available per person, free of charge, on presentation of a valid driver’s licence, identity document or passport, at Computicket stands, Shoprite and Shoprite/Checkers outlets.

City spokeswoman Priya Reddy said coupons were still available and members of the public are encouraged to collect their coupons "to mourn the loss and celebrate the life of Tata Madiba", adding: "The city urges residents to only come to the stadium event if they have their coupon."

The coupon also allows free access to public transport into and out of the city from noon onwards, on the MyCiTi bus service, Golden Arrow Bus Services and Metrorail. Roads around the stadium will be closed and it is anticipated that there will be traffic congestion.

The official memorial service for Mandela will be held at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Tuesday. Mandela will be buried in Qunu in the Eastern Cape, where he grew up, on Sunday December 15.