FNB Stadium filling up

2013-12-10 12:34

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The FNB Stadium is expected to fill to its 90 000 capacity for the official memorial service for former president Nelson Mandela.

More than 90 heads of state, including 10 former presidents, will be at the stadium to bid farewell to Mandela.

Proceedings got under way before US President Barack Obama had arrived.

People from all walks of life, young and old, braved the chilly and wet weather to witness one of the biggest sendoffs the world has seen to date.

A few heads of state and former heads of state received rapturous applause and cheers from the 80 000-strong crowd that had already gathered, but former president Thabo Mbeki received the loudest cheers.

Former president FW de Klerk, Mandela’s widow Graça Machel and former wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, also received deafening cheers when they took their seats next to relatives.

But this was in contrast to President Jacob Zuma’s reception, when a section of the mourners made substitution signs with their hands as Zuma waved to the crowd.

Many of those in attendance were in a boisterous mood as they sang and danced on the stands and corridors of the stadium earlier, waiting for the proceedings to get under way.

Many were singing struggle songs that resonate with Mandela.

Celebrities at the stadium include PJ Powers and US-based South African actress Charlize Theron.

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