Nelson Mandela lies in state as South Africa mourns

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

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Wednesday was the first of three days for the body of former South African President Nelson Mandela to lie in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, at the same amphitheatre where he was inaugurated on May 10, 1994. The amphitheatre was renamed The Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre, by President Jacob Zuma at the Mandela memorial service held in FNB Stadium in Soweto on Tuesday.

View of crowd in FNB stadium
Image: Clement Khanye.

The weather for the memorial service on Tuesday was inclement, as the day was filled with rain and cold wind. There were logistical “glitches” in ferrying the public to the stadium which resulted in long waiting times. A less than expected attendance by the public resulted in a partially filled stadium. Some sections of the crowd were heard booing the state president Jacob Zuma when his image appeared on the stadium screen, prompting the program director Cyril Ramaphosa to call for discipline amongst the crowd. The discovery that the sign language interpreter was actually signing “rubbish” has since caused uproar in the deaf communities of South Africa and around the world.

US president Barack Obama and Mbuso Mandela both received the loudest cheer and standing ovation as they each delivered their tributes. They drew on Mandela’s quotations over the years as they delivered heartfelt and spirit stirring eulogies.

The GCIS has advised that tight security measures will be taken in Qunu Eastern Cape Province where Nelson Mandela is to be buried. No members of the public or Media are to be allowed near the home stead.

The body of the former state man lay in state through yesterday. This morning it was to be transferred from the 1 Military hospital to the Waterkloof Air Force Base and flown by the South African Military to Qunu Eastern Cape Province. The former state man is to be laid to rest amongst his ancestors tomorrow.


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