The Nelson Mandela Project


We have been on standby for the death of the late Madiba for some years now. Late on Thursday the 5 December 2013 we had the call from our Clients, EBU and others. We were contracted by the EBU to provide deployment within a few hours.

The first area that we needed operational was our Southern Fibre switching Centre (Landau Terrace Richmond). This needed to be operational within 2 hours of the announcement with 2 live stand up positions including the IFB from the correspondent’s news room. This was sent on our fibre system to our Teleport in Rivonia and uplinked as 3 SCPC carriers the third being the pool feed from SABC. Landau Terrace was operational for the full 10 days from the Announcement doing about 65 feeds for the Eurovision Affiliates.

The second position we needed to get operational was in Vilikazi Street Soweto within 9 hours. This was our Iveco Truck that has been 100% pre-rigged for this job since Madiba was hospitalised in May. This Truck was rigged for 4 stand up paths, 3 of were a 12MHz MCPC Mux and the 4 path was a SCPC sharing a slot on the satellite with an uplink in Houghton. This truck on the first day did around 100 different feeds operating 24 hours to accommodate the different time zones across the world.

CBS needed a Truck in Soweto for their live position overlooking the Mandela house in Vilikazi Street. This truck needed to do two paths HD MPEG4 which was manned for them for five days.

The EBU moved their uplink from Houghton to set up at the retirement home in Pretoria behind the Sheraton Hotel overlooking the Union buildings and the gardens, this left a gap outside Mandela’s home which we then dispatched our Hummer to fulfil the the Desmond Tutu and the UN presidents visits.

Our Iveco moved out of Soweto on the Monday 9 Dec to relocate to FNB stadium for the Memorial service on the Tuesday. For FNB we had increased our capacity from 4 paths to 6 to accommodate EBU’s clients from the international press. Apart from accreditation issues logistics how to get the crew to FNB Stadium at 04h00 on the Tuesday morning, we were up and running by 06h00 with the EBU producer supplying coffee to the crew and clients on a very wet and cold Tuesday morning. We uplinked two 12MHz MCPC mux’s to accommodate the 6 individual channels of which throughout the day we did just short of 200 feeds which works out to be around 12 feeds per hour.

That was not the end for our Iveco after a very long day at FNB this truck then moved to gardens in front of the union buildings for the lying in state until the Friday evening where then it went back to Soweto for the Weekend of the Burial in Qunu. The Thursday morning the EBU needed more equipment in Qunu where we then dispatched a truck which arrived in Qunu on Thursday evening and was interfaced with their existing equipment.

Many of the International press used our fibre connectivity from their offices in 1 Park Rd Richmond directly to their headquarters in their respective countries. We supplied SABC 12 ATM encoders for their specialized feeds from the various locations they required.

After a very long 10 days we were stood down on Sunday night from all the news agencies where all our engineers were finally able to have some long awaited R&R with their families.

The Mandela project lasted 10 days and during this time we still had the likes of Nedbank Golf Challenge for Supersport, the ETP Golf (Nelson Mandela Challenge in Mt Edgecombe) and international volleyball at Durban Beachfront. Out of respect for Madiba all local and international sporting events held in SA were cancelled on Sunday 15th December 2013.

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