Mthatha airport hive of activity

2013-12-13 13:13
This cover of the Beijing Times attests to Nelson Mandela's global appeal. (Wang Zhao, AFP)

This cover of the Beijing Times attests to Nelson Mandela's global appeal. (Wang Zhao, AFP)

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Johannesburg - Mthatha airport in the Eastern Cape was a hive of activity on Thursday ahead of the arrival of Nelson Mandela's body.

Police kept watch at all major road intersections near the airport, while others, including military police officers on motorcycles, were stationed in and around the facility.

Local residents in yellow African National Congress T-shirts sang outside the main gate.

A military tent could be seen on the airport grounds.

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

A memorial service was held for him at FNB stadium in Johannesburg on Tuesday, and his body lay in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria from Wednesday to Friday.

Mandela's body is expected to be flown to the Eastern Cape on Saturday. He will be buried on Sunday in Qunu, where he spent much of his childhood.

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

- Share your memories of Nelson Mandela with us.

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