Tears for tata

By Drum Digital
12 December 2013

A woman with the South African flag draped over her shoulders broke down into tears after seeing Madiba.

A woman with the South African flag draped over her shoulders broke down into tears after seeing former president Nelson Mandela's body at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Thursday.

"It's a blessing for me," Frida Manamela said, trying to hold back her tears.

"It reminds me of the old days. I think I'm okay now after seeing his face. The old man is now at peace," she said, before bursting into tears again.

Mandela's body was lying in state in the amphitheatre, the site where he was inaugurated as the country's first democratically-elected president in 1994.

Motheo Modiba, a 20-year-old university student, said she felt honoured to see Mandela.

"Oh my gosh, it was awesome yet so scary," she said.

"I feel that it was a blessing. He... still looked handsome."

Rita Fatyela, an African National Congress Women's League member from Villiersdorp in the Western Cape said she was happy she could see Mandela.

"I feel very happy because I could see my lord; Mandela is my lord.

"He looked beautiful. Papa is not dead, he is sleeping," Fatyela said.

Prince Mashiane, from Soshanguve, sat on a bench in front of the Union Buildings looking out over Pretoria. He had not gone to see the body yet.

"We lost a father. We lost such a great man," he said staring out into the distance.

Hundreds of people continued to queue at the Union Buildings waiting for their chance to bid Mandela farewell.

Vanessa Narainsamy wore a green, yellow and black sari in honour of Mandela and the African National Congress.

"As you can see, I'm clad in the ANC colours; I think he [Mandela] would have appreciated that."

She said seeing the body had given her closure.

"It was such a good experience, more of a relief... He always meant so much to me."

Narainsamy said it was always her desire to meet the struggle icon, which she got to do on Thursday.

"You have these mixed emotions, you just want to cry out. He stole everyone's heart."

Jared Reddy, 16, who flew up from Durban, said it was an experience for him to see Mandela.

"It was a great experience, especially being someone who was born in the new South Africa.

"We lost a great icon who will be sorely missed," said Reddy.

Mandela will again be transported from One Military Hospital to the Union Buildings on Friday, where his body will lie in state for a third and last day.

Members of the public are invited to line the route and form a public guard of honour while his body is being transported.

People can view the body from 8am to 5.30pm.

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

The official memorial service was held at the FNB Stadium, in Soweto, on Tuesday, and was attended by about 100 current and former heads of state and government.

He will be buried in Qunu in the Eastern Cape on Sunday.

-by Sapa

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