Final public Mandela viewing underway

11 December 2013 7:08 PM

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Members of the public began viewing the body of former president Nelson Mandela on Friday as he lay in state for the third and final day at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

Several elderly people, many dressed in traditional outfits, as well as some police officials, were among the first in line to view the body.

Grandson Mandla Mandela stood to the side at the structure where the body lay. Dressed in black, he contrasted sharply against the elaborate white floral displays beside him.

Earlier he softly mouthed the words of the national anthem as a military band played. He has remained with his grandfather's body every day. According to AbaThembu tradition, an adult male family member must remain with the body until burial.

Long queues have marked the previous two days as tens of thousands of South Africans gathered to say their final farewell.

The City of Tshwane said over 20,000 people arrived at the Union Buildings and park-and-ride facilities were shut down early on Thursday after the venues reached capacity.

Government communication services put attendance figures at 12,000 to 14,000 for Wednesday, the first day in which Mandela lay in state.

On Friday, several memorial services will take place throughout the country to honour the former president.

Mandela died at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, last Thursday at the age of 95.

His body will be taken to the Eastern Cape on Saturday. He will be buried in a state funeral on Sunday in Qunu, where he spent much of his childhood.


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