Mandela’s body lying in state

Pretoria, South Africa (PANA) - A day after Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in Soweto, the international spotlight has now shifted to Pretoria where the remains of South Africa's anti-Apartheid hero and global icon will lie in state for three days at the Union Buildings, the official seat of government.

PANA reported that early on Wednesday, the body of the revered statesman was slowly transported across the capital city with tens of thousands lining the streets to pay their last respects.

A black Mercedes station wagon which carried the flag-draped coffin was escorted by 30 motor bikes while military helicopters hovered above.

The mood of the moment reflects the sorrow and joy of a nation which is slowly coming to terms with the death of its revered leader while, at the same time, celebrating his legacy.

Many in the crowd threw flowers at the convoy and sang "Asibonanga", Johnny Clegg's famous tribute to Mandela.

The public, as well as invited heads of state and international guests, will be able to view Mandela's body for the next three days.

Fittingly, it is the venue where Mandela took his oath of office nearly two decades ago to become the nation’s first democratically-elected leader and a moral beacon for the entire planet.

Mandela’s will be buried in his home village of Qunu in Eastern Cape province on Sunday and, the following day, a national day of reconciliation will take place at the Union Buildings where a large statue of Mandela will be unveiled.
-0- PANA CU/SEG 11Dec2013

11 december 2013 07:27:36

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