Joy, singing – and rain – at FNB Stadium

2013-12-10 07:36

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Crowds have started streaming into the FNB Stadium where a memorial service for former president Nelson Mandela is set to be held today.

Even as early as 5am people were queuing in the rain to get into the gates, which opened after 6am.

The mood among the crowd was celebratory, and they were singing and toyi-toying as they waited for the gates to open, and as they took their seats.

Many carried large ANC banners and South African flags, and some had paraphernalia in the colours of the South African flag.

Local ANC branches organised buses to the stadium for their members.

Security at the stadium is stringent, and a military helicopter is circling closely overhead at intervals.

Workers were still putting finishing touches to the stage on the pitch this morning.

Nobody except selected television journalists are allowed on the pitch.

One of the big screens in the stadium displays a picture of Mandela and 1918-2013 written underneath his name.

Earlier, people were told not to bring umbrellas, but the ban appeared to have been lifted with many in the crowd carrying large umbrellas to protect themselves from the rain, which was predicted to continue throughout the day.

Mandela memorial programme

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