Family will not leave Madiba alone

2013-12-12 10:38
Mandla Mandela watches as his grandfather's coffin is carried into the union buildings. (Kim Ludbrook, AFP)

Mandla Mandela watches as his grandfather's coffin is carried into the union buildings. (Kim Ludbrook, AFP)

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Johannesburg - A representative of the Mandela family has said the family will follow tradition and ensure former president Nelson Mandela's body is not alone before burial, eNCA news reported on Thursday.

"Some family are already there [In Qunu where the funeral will be held]. Some are around Pretoria because we can't leave Madiba alone," Themba Matanzima told the news station.

He said Mandela's grandson, Mandla, was expected to be with the body during the process of it lying in state at the Union Buildings.

"It is in line with our traditions and culture. Although government has provided troops... The feeling is that normally adult males will always be at the side of the coffin... Madiba knows this is supposed to be done when an AbaThembu male passes on."

Matanzima said it was expected that the body be spoken to.

"We are guiding the spirit, we are reporting because he is not with us physically, that is the reason behind speaking to him."

He said the family was coping in the aftermath of the death of its patriarch.

"We are holding up because of the prayers and the support."

On Wednesday, Mandla Mandela, sat with his grandfather's coffin the whole of the first day as it lay in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

On Thursday, he again arrived with the hearse and accompanied the coffin as it was placed in the public viewing area.

Friday will be the last day Mandela's body lies in state.

He will be buried in Qunu in the Eastern Cape - where he spent most of his childhood - on Sunday.

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.

Friends, colleagues, comrades and family of Nelson Mandela are invited to share their memories and tributes, and to light a candle for him, on his profile at

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