News / Africa

Mourners Continue Streaming to Mandela Viewing

A woman weeps after paying her respects to Nelson Mandela as Mandela lies in state  at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Dec. 12, 2013.
A woman weeps after paying her respects to Nelson Mandela as Mandela lies in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Dec. 12, 2013.
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VOA News
Tens of thousands of mourners have lined up to pay their respects to late South African President Nelson Mandela, whose body is lying in state for a third and final day in Pretoria.

The government says 50,000 people are waiting to file past Mandela's glass-covered casket. It has warned many may not be able to view the anti-apartheid icon's body by Friday afternoon, when official viewing hours end.

A line of people now several kilometers-long began forming as early as 3:00 a.m. local time. One of the mourners, Doctor Mulumba, said he did not want to miss his last chance to see Mr. Mandela, who died last week at the age of 95.

"I arrived here at 4:00 a.m., the reason being, yesterday I was in a queue from 11 and I couldn't get in. So today early in the morning I was here at 4:00 a.m," he said.

The viewing site, the amphitheater of the Union Buildings, is the same place where Mandela was sworn in as South Africa's first black president in 1994, after being imprisoned for 27 years for his role in the struggle against white minority rule.

Mandela's body will later be flown to his rural hometown of Qunu, where his funeral and burial will take place Sunday.

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