Mark Shuttleworth - June 10, 2002: Parade a crowd-puller - Thousands of people gathered in Heerengracht and Adderley Streets in Cape Town to welcome Mark Shuttleworth home after his historic mission.
Mark and fellow cosmonaut Yuri Gidzenko, of Russia, rode on top of an open-top double-decker bus from the location of the new Conference Centre to the planetarium in Queen Victoria Street.
Crowds squeezed onto rooftops and office workers hung out of windows to catch a glimpse of the First African in Space. The procession, which included horses and hundreds of school children from various schools in the Peninsula, stopped a number of times on the way up Adderley Street.
At each stop, Mark received commendations from, among others, a representative from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development; Belinda Walker, the Deputy Mayor of Cape Town; officials from the Russian and Italian embassies and Adderley Street’s famous flower-sellers.
Mark disembarked twice on the journey – once for a scheduled stop at the fountain in Adderley street, and again when Grant, Mark’s brother, performed a song he’d written for Mark on a huge stage in Darling Street, off Adderley.
The police had their hands full trying to control the crowd, which cheered loudly whenever the bus stopped and scrambled to catch Hip2B2 T-shirts thrown into the crowd from the bus.
In her commendation, Cape Town’s deputy mayor Belinda Walker told Mark it was a pleasure to welcome him home. "You bring back the message to Cape Town that if you work hard, you can make that dream come true," she said.
Mark said: "It's wonderful to see you all today. I'm proudly South African and proudly Capetonian. Though we have been through hell on the way to space we are still ordinary people. Whatever we can do you can do as well."
The cosmonauts finally entered the planetarium in Queen Victoria Street for a VIP lunch.