World News

Huge Crowds at Final Day of Mandela Viewing

South African police try to block mourners at a checkpoint while they attempt to walk to the Union building to see the body of former South African President Nelson Mandela, in Pretoria, Dec. 13, 2013.
South African police try to block mourners at a checkpoint while they attempt to walk to the Union building to see the body of former South African President Nelson Mandela, in Pretoria, Dec. 13, 2013.
The public has said a final goodbye to former South African President Nelson Mandela. Friday was the last day of a visitation where his body could be viewed.  

Paulina Kwanyane, an attorney from Johannesburg, arrived early Thursday morning to see the body of Nelson Mandela, which was lying in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

She said, "I joined the queue about seven in the morning yesterday, but I couldn't make it."

After waiting eight hours, the line was cut off at 3 p.m. So she decided to get a cheap hotel room, waking up at 3 a.m. Friday to line up again. Just after noon, she made it inside to see Mandela -- a quick walk by his open coffin, which is topped by glass.

The waiting for that brief moment was worth it to the 41-year-old, and harkened back to waiting in line for the country's first free election.

"You know the queue that I was standing in yesterday, it reminded me of 1994. Because we wanted to just have to vote for freedom," said Kwanyane.

After two days of waiting, she found solace. She said, "This is day two, but I'm happy. I made it, regardless. It was quite tough, but it was worth it. I couldn't go back without seeing him.… He gave up his life for us, and here we are today. So he deserved that little -- it's a few hours for us and he gave up years of his life for us."

  • 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.

Friday was the last of three days during which the public was able to view Mandela's body lying in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, the same place where he was sworn in as South Africa's first black president in 1994.

Mandela's body has been shuttled in between a Military Hospital and the Union Buildings each morning and night.

The body will now be taken to Waterkloof base in Centurion, where the African National Congress will have a farewell to Mandela, the party's former leader.

Mandela's remains will be flown to the Eastern Cape, where a military ceremony will take place as the remains are then placed in a hearse, which will transport Mandela's body to Qunu, his ancestral home.

The state funeral service will take place Sunday in Qunu.

Not everyone made it in to pay their last respects. Like Thursday, police had to cut off lines in the afternoon.  Friday, crowds began pushing back against police, and some protested, walking through the streets below the grounds of the Union Buildings.

Those who made it in had waited overnight.

Ntsiki Mkhwazi waited with her two nieces in line since after midnight. She said, despite the long wait, it was necessary.

"This for me personally, it's a closure and I had to do it," she said. "Moving forward and you look back on what he's done for us as a country….We will never have another president like this person. No one will beat this."

For Kwanyane, whose politically active mother had been forced to flee to Lesotho when Kwanyane was a child, it was a goodbye to a man who had tremendous impact on her life.

"I'm glad I came," she said. "This was much for me to have closure and I have it, I truly have it, I truly have it."

As the shadows grew in the terraced gardens below the Union Buildings, the last few public mourners made their way past Mandela's casket. At the site of his historic inauguration almost 20 years ago, they bid him a final goodbye.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: kiir from: Canada
December 13, 2013 11:52 AM
I cried when I heard about the death of Dr. John Garang ..now cried and i cried cried for third time as adult. when i heard about the death of my respectful father Nelson Mandela. My wishes as a child war from R.O.S.S it was to go to South Africa and shack his hand alive. But they say God gives and takes R.I.P Father though i will deeply missed you.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs