Mandela tributes pour in to Union Buildings

2013-12-10 20:40

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Pretoria - A monument of flowers in honour of former president Nelson Mandela kept growing at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Tuesday, despite incessant rain across Gauteng.

People streamed to the seat of government, leaving marked bouquets of flowers, cards, and letters in the rain.

One of them, Adelene Prinsloo, said she could not make it to the memorial service at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, and bringing the gifts was her way of showing appreciation.

"I wish government had declared today as a public holiday so that we could all attend the FNB service. I just had to ask for an hour from my workplace so that I could pay homage to Tata," she said.

"Mandela succeeded in uniting us as Africans. The least I could do was to come and say ‘thanks’. In spirit, I am celebrating with the large crowd gathered at the FNB Stadium. Mandela was one of a kind."

Moments later, Jeanette Tomkow completed her "long walk in the rain" to add another bouquet to the sizeable heap.

"It’s not such a bad thing to walk in the rain to give gratitude to a man who gave up his life for the people of South Africa," she said.

"Mandela has taught everyone a lesson of hope and forgiveness. I could not make it to the FNB Stadium but I’m doing my part here. I am very sad, at the same time I am very grateful about all that he did for us."

Preparing for Mandela’s body

At the Union Buildings construction workers had erected a giant marquee, where Mandela’s body would lie in state from Wednesday.

A company of soldiers practised their drills next to the marquee, near a flag flying at half-mast. The national anthem was played.

Last week Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said Mandela’s remains were being prepared to lie in state at the Union Buildings.

"President Mandela's body is being prepared by the military health service of the SA National Defence Force to lie in state... from Wednesday 11 December to Friday 13 December," he told reporters in Johannesburg.

On Saturday, Mandela's remains would be taken to the Eastern Cape from the Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria.

On the same day, a procession would take place from Mthatha to Qunu, where the Thembu community would conduct a traditional ceremony.

The state funeral will take place in Qunu 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

- Share your memories of Nelson Mandela with us.

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