In scenes reminiscent of South Africa’s first democratic elections nearly 20 years ago, tens of thousands of mourners queued up at park-and-ride areas in Pretoria on Friday for a bus ride to the Union Buildings where Nelson Mandela’s body lay in state for a second day.
“He looked peaceful. His face expressed kindness and compassion … It suddenly dawned on me that he was really gone. I bowed my head and said: ‘Enkosi Tata, ngayo yonke into’ [Thank you, Tata, for everything] …” Bathandwa Mbola describes her experience of seeing Nelson Mandela lying in state.
Tens of thousands of South Africans joined together to celebrate the life of their
former leader with music, tears and joy under beautiful African skies at the Cape
Town Stadium in Greenpoint on Wednesday night.
Nelson Mandela’s state funeral at his village of Qunu on Sunday will be conducted by a minister of the Methodist faith, which he embraced while on Robben Island, but the actual burial will be performed according to elaborate Xhosa ritual.
Perhaps the best people to express the sadness of South Africa – and the world – after the death of Nelson Mandela are those closest to him: his long-time personal assistant Zelda la Grange, his old friend Ahmed Kathrada, and his fellow Elder, Desmond Tutu.
“I will never forget my friend Madiba,” said former US president Bill Clinton. “I have lost a dear friend. Nelson Mandela stands as an inspiration to us all,” said Kofi Annan. Twitter has collected tweets from major world leaders expressing their sadness at his passing and appreciation of his life. Read them here.
Women from all religious backgrounds gathered at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Thursday to reflect, pray and celebrate the life of former president Nelson Mandela, who was a champion of women’s equality.
It has been almost a week since Nelson Mandela’s passing. For some South Africans, the reality that their beloved former president is no more finally sank in on Wednesday, when they saw his mortal remains at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
The Mandela family, friends, government ministers and the leaders of countries from across the world filed past the body of Nelson Mandela as it lay in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Wednesday morning.
Nelson Mandela’s body has returned to the Union Buildings in Pretoria where he was sworn in as South Africa’s first democratically elected president almost 20 years ago. His body arrived in a glass-sided hearse just before 8am with his coffin draped in the South African flag.