News / Africa

Crowds Gather to See Mandela Lying in State

Crowds Gather to See Nelson Mandela Lying in Statei
X
December 11, 2013 4:13 PM
The body of beloved South African icon Nelson Mandela is lying in state for three days ahead of his Sunday funeral. On Wednesday, thousands of people lined the streets of Pretoria for their chance to say goodbye. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from South Africa’s capital, Pretoria.
Crowds Gather to See Nelson Mandela Lying in State
Anita Powell
The body of beloved South African icon Nelson Mandela is lying in state for three days ahead of his Sunday funeral. On Wednesday, thousands of people lined the streets of Pretoria for their chance to say goodbye.
 
Lindiwe Geza awoke at dawn to iron her heavy, mustard-yellow dress. She took care to arrange the many layers of her Xhosa traditional outfit just so -- the beaded cape that jingles when she dances, the heavy skirt, the carefully wound headdress.
 
She then took the bus to a nondescript street corner in Pretoria.
 
And then, along with the rest of the world, she waited.
 
Just after 7:00 a.m., a cortege emerged from the military hospital where Mandela had previously been admitted as a patient. He died Thursday at the age of 95 after an extraordinary life. He’s credited with ending South Africa’s oppressive apartheid regime and bringing peace to his racially divided nation.
 
People react as the procession for former South African president Nelson Mandela leaves the military hospital in Pretoria, Dec. 11, 2013.People react as the procession for former South African president Nelson Mandela leaves the military hospital in Pretoria, Dec. 11, 2013.
x
People react as the procession for former South African president Nelson Mandela leaves the military hospital in Pretoria, Dec. 11, 2013.
People react as the procession for former South African president Nelson Mandela leaves the military hospital in Pretoria, Dec. 11, 2013.
Military police saluted down the chain like dominoes as they were passed by the car carrying Mandela’s coffin, draped in the brightly colored South African flag.
 
That was her only glimpse of Mandela, but she said, it was worth the effort. “So we thought that, you know, to iron these clothes actually, it’s not a big deal, because although, even if it takes a lot of time, it’s nothing compared to the time he took and the sacrifice that he has made for us in order that today we can be a rainbow nation,” explained Geza.
 
The somber procession then drove through central Pretoria on roads formerly named after the architects of apartheid. Thousands crowded the streets, waving flags and signs, and singing and dancing in praise of Mandela.
 
Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Mandela’s body will lie in state through Friday at the Union Buildings in Pretoria -- the compound where he worked after he became the nation’s first black president in 1994.
 
A solemn honor guard carried the casket into Pretoria’s Union Buildings. The first viewers were a veritable who’s who of world leaders, South African elites and international superstars -- evidence of Mandela’s truly global influence.
 
More than 90 world leaders gathered in Johannesburg on Tuesday for a memorial service honoring the late South African President Nelson Mandela.  Below are excerpts.

  • South Africa's President Jacob Zuma: Mandela was a "fearless freedom fighter who refused to allow the brutality of the apartheid state" stand in the way for a struggle for liberation.
  • President Barack Obama: "Mandela showed us the power of action; of taking risks on behalf of our ideals."
  • UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: "His compassion stands out most. He was angry at injustice, not at individuals."
  • Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff: "His fight went way beyond his national border and inspired men and women, young people and adults to fight for independence and social justice."
  • India's President Pranab Mukherjee: "He was the last of the giants who led the world's struggles against colonialism and his struggle held special significance for us."
  • Cuba's President Raul Castro: "Mandela has led his people into the battle against apartheid to open the way to a new South Africa, a non-racial and a united South Africa."
  • China's Vice President Li Yuanchao: "The Chinese people will always cherish the memory of his important contribution to the China - South Africa friendship and China-Africa relations.''
A drawn and regal-looking Winnie-Madikizela Mandela, Mandela’s former wife and partner in the struggle against apartheid, held on to her daughter Zindzi for support.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, 89 and a longtime critic of Mandela, bowed curtly before the white-draped casket. His much younger wife Grace attempted a curtsy. South Africa’s police commissioner saluted, clenching her fists as she walked away resolutely.
 
And then came the ordinary mourners, in quick succession, men and women of all ages and colors, passing by his coffin in a blur. Firefighters, police, young men in jeans and women in African National Congress t-shirts walked by. Many wiped their eyes or openly sobbed as they walked away.
 
The event also drew droves of visitors and non-South Africans. Paula Gutierrez is a native of Colombia. She has lived in Pretoria for a year, and said she felt she needed to see Mandela for one last time.
 
“I just think that just being part of this is being part of history, is being part of an icon moment, and being part of this leader, and saying goodbye.”
 
Mandela’s body will be on view through Friday in Pretoria. He will then be buried on Sunday in a family ceremony in his ancestral home of Qunu.

  • Police form a barricade after the the cut off time for viewing the body of Nelson Mandela outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Dec. 13, 2013.
  • Crowds of people walk after learning they would not be able to view Nelson Mandela's body at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Dec. 13, 2013. (Peter Cox for VOA)
  • South African police control the crowd following a crush as people jostled to see former South African president Nelson Mandela on the last day of his lying in state in Pretoria, Dec. 13, 2013.
  • People line up to catch a bus to see the remains of Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Dec. 12, 2013.
  • People line up for courtesy buses to ferry them to the Union Buildings to view the body of Nelson Mandela in Pretoria, Dec. 12, 2013.
  • A woman weeps after paying her respects to Nelson Mandela as Mandela lies in state for the second day at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Dec. 12, 2013.
  • South African mourners hold posters of former president Nelson Mandela, while chanting slogans as the convoy transporting his remains passes by in Pretoria, Dec. 11, 2013.
  • Military personnel carry the remains of the late Nelson Mandela upon arrival at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Dec. 11, 2013.
  • Nelson Mandela's widow Graca Machel, right, pays her respects to the former South African president at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Dec. 11, 2013.
  • Mourners line up after waiting for hours to get into a bus to go to the Union Buildings where the casket of Nelson Mandela lies in state for three days in Pretoria, Dec. 11, 2013.
  • People react as the procession for former South African president Nelson Mandela leaves the military hospital in Pretoria, Dec. 11, 2013.
  • Defense force personnel and hospital staff salute a procession for former South African president Nelson Mandela as it leaves the military hospital in Pretoria, Dec. 11, 2013.
  • Women wave South African national flags before the cortege carrying the coffin of former South African President Nelson Mandela passes by in Pretoria, Dec. 11, 2013.

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Omungala Olubuyi from: kenya
December 12, 2013 12:20 AM
If u want to make peace with your enemy u have to work with your enemy then he becomes your partner

by: ubabuike chinedu from: owerri
December 11, 2013 10:46 PM
what a legacy mandela left behind

by: georgeohando from: nairobi kenya
December 11, 2013 11:32 AM
Surely is now S.Africans people are realizing that Mandela has gone.
In Response

by: NVO from: USA
December 11, 2013 2:28 PM
Wow, what a profound comment, LOL.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More