Mandela: Cops, troops prepare for last procession

2013-12-13 07:39
As the country mourns Nelson Mandela, the much-loved icon's death is a reminder that all South Africans form  a single nation. (AFP)

As the country mourns Nelson Mandela, the much-loved icon's death is a reminder that all South Africans form a single nation. (AFP)

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Pretoria - Police and soldiers lined the streets in Pretoria on Friday morning for the last procession bearing the body of former president Nelson Mandela from One Military Hospital to the Union Buildings where he will lie in state for the third and last day.

Kopane Phallane, an employee at a car dealership in Vermeulen Street, Arcadia, arrives at work at 05:00 every day and plays hymns on his car sound system for mourners forming a public guard of honour for Mandela.

Singer Tshepo Tshola's "Ho lokile" [It is well] hymn echoed along the street, with some police officers moving their heads slowly in rhythm as the hymn played.

"I have been playing this specific hymn since Wednesday morning. We say 'it is well' to God and thanks for borrowing us Mandela," said the car salesman from Atteridgeville.

His colleagues gathered next to his car and sang along to the song.

"It has been like this here for the past three days, we start work at 8:00, just minutes after the coffin drives by."

The motorcade will leave One Military Hospital bound for the Union Buildings around 07:00.

Last day to see Mandela

Passers-by on their way to queue for transport to view Mandela's body stopped for a few minutes to join in the singing before continuing on their journey.

Long queues had already formed just two streets away at the corner of Vermuelen and Hamilton streets.

Emily Sebata and her friend Lucy Mbonambi, dressed in black, came from Vosloorus on the East Rand. They had been queuing since 04:00.

"This is the last day to see Mandela, there is no other place I would rather be. I am dressed in black and mourning my hero," said Mbonambi.

Mandela died last week on Thursday at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, aged 95.

He will be buried in his boyhood village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape on Sunday.

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 Remembered.co.za.

- Share your memories of Nelson Mandela with us.

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