Thousands gather to see Mandela one last time

2013-12-11 13:56

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Former president Nelson Mandela looked peaceful lying in a casket at the centre of the amphitheatre at the Union Buildings.

Thousands went to view his body today, taking a moment to say goodbye to Mandela who was dressed in his signature “Madiba shirt” – which was black and gold.

Mothers lifted their children to see Mandela whose casket was perched on a beautifully decorated wooden structure.

The procession moved swiftly, with people pausing beside his body for a few seconds at a time.

No cameras or mobile phones were allowed to be used in the newly named Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre.

Elina Ramokgopa (67) who travelled from Zebediala in Polokwane said her wish had been fulfilled after she had seen Mandela for the last time.

“I left Polokwane last night and stayed with one of my children in Pretoria north. I was in one of the places where we were supposed to catch the bus by 7.30am. When my daughter heard that we were still at that spot after 12pm she wanted to fetch me and take me home but I said no, not until I say goodbye to Madiba,” Ramokgopa said.

“Before viewing his body just now I had never come close to seeing Mandela like this. I always saw him on TV and newspapers. So today I thought here was my chance even if it was for the last time,” she said.

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