Standing ovation for Gordhan’s arrival at Kathrada memorial

What transpired at the venue a while ago went beyond the expectation of everyone present. Old lefties, child activists, grannies, politicians and ordinary Capetonians gave former finance minister Pravin Gordhan a standing ovation as he arrived for ANC veteran Ahmed Kathrada’s memorial service in Cape Town on Thursday

.But most of the T-shirts were from local protest campaigns for proper toilets, education, freedom of information and against gender violence. HIV/Aids activists were also present, joining the schoolchildren’s shrill singing of old anti-apartheid struggle songs usually associated with their elders.

Fresh from his sacking by President Jacob Zuma last Friday, Gordhan’s arrival sparked cheers among people at the memorial.

As he walked in, he got a huge round of applause and people broke into song.

Kathrada’s death appears to have galvanised a movement for Zuma to step down, and this was reflected in posters at the memorial, where people also reflect anger over the recent ratings downgrades by Standard and Poor’s (S&P).

“Ahmed up my mind”, read one, and “Downgrade Zuma to #Junkstatus” read another.

There was very little political insignia.

A few people arrived in African National Congress, SA Communist Party and Pan Africanist Congress T-shirts.

Former tourism minister Derek Hanekom walked in to the cathedral with Gordhan.

He was also fired in President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle.

The cathedral had filled up so early ahead of the scheduled 14:00 start, that people were asked to be quiet during the unrelated Lenten Eucharist.

By the time it started there was no room inside and crowds spilled into Wale Street. A handful of traffic officers kept an eye on people.