AFRICANGLOBE – Family membrs, senior officials and VIPs have paid their respects to Nelson Mandela whose body is lying in state in South Africa’s Union Buildings.
A flag-draped casket made a solemn journey through the streets in Tshwane (Dec 11), guarded by 16 motorcycle outriders on roads lined with South African’s waving their national flag as they formed a public guard of honour.
It was then carried up the steps toward to the Union Building – the seat of South Africa’s government, where Mandela was sworn in as the country’s first African president nearly 20 years ago. A special viewing centre, built inside the building’s amphitheatre, was named after Mandela by decree yesterday by President Jacob Zuma.
Trailing behind the coffin was Mandela’s former wife Winnie, supported by his eldest daughter
His body will lie in state for three days in Tshwane, before being flown to Qunu, his home in the Eastern Cape Province ahead of his burial on Sunday (Dec 15),
The morning viewing was reserved for family and officials, with the public allowed in from midday to view the casket each afternoon.
A smaller number of international dignitaries, including the Prince of Wales and several heads of African states have confirmed their attendance to the funeral.
Thousands of mourners and well wishers are expected to come to honour the former South African president.
“Every morning, when the remains leave the mortuary to the lying in state, those routes will be made public,” said government spokesman Neo Momodu.
“We are going to be encouraging members of the public to be lining the streets” to pay their respects to Nelson Mandela.”
By: Mary Isokariari