World leaders bow, pray at Nelson Mandela's casket

Mourners include fellow Nobel Peace Prize winners
Associated Press
Dec 11, 2013

World leaders and thousands of South Africans on Wednesday filed past the flag-draped casket containing the body of Nelson Mandela, having a final look at the anti-apartheid icon in the amphitheater where he was sworn in 19 years earlier as the country's first black president.

Some made the sign of the cross, others simply gazed at Mandela's face through a glass bubble atop the coffin at the Union Buildings, the government offices in South Africa's capital, Pretoria.

Mandela was dressed in a black and yellow patterned shirt, a trademark style that he adopted as a statesman. His eyes were closed. His white hair swept up from his forehead.

Mandela family members and world leaders viewed the body Wednesday morning. By the afternoon, long lines had formed to see the casket but the government said the "cut-off" point had been reached, urging people instead to arrive early on the following two days to get their chance.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, South African President Jacob Zuma and other leaders passed by the casket in two lines. Four junior naval officers in white uniforms kept watch. Celebrities including singer Bono of the band U2 also paid their respects. So did F.W. de Klerk, the last president of white rule who shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela for ending the apartheid era.

"I hope that his focus on lasting reconciliation will live and bloom in South Africa," de Klerk said.

Mandela's widow Graca Machel, his former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and other family members also viewed his body.

Some appeared lost for a moment, looking down at Mandela. South Sudan's president, Salva Kiir Mayardit, stood transfixed before removing his trademark black cowboy hat and crossing himself.

Police officers were a few steps away, one holding a box of tissues. Some clearly were overcome by the sight, one woman covering her entire face, weeping as she walked away supported by a colleague. Others carried posters bearing Mandela's image.

"I'm lost. My mind is lost," said Silver Mogotlane after passing by the casket.

"It's amazing to think that 19 years ago he was inaugurated there, and now he's lying there," said another viewer, Paul Letageng. "If he was not here we would not have had peace in South Africa."

Mandela emerged from 27 years in prison under the white racist government in 1990, appealed for forgiveness and reconciliation and became president in 1994 after the country's first all-race democratic elections. He gave his inaugural address from the amphitheater, which Zuma named after him by decree Tuesday.

Mandela said at his inauguration: "Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long, must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud."

On Wednesday morning, motorcycle-riding police officers escorted the hearse from a military hospital outside of Pretoria to the Union Buildings. People lined the streets to watch the procession, singing old songs from the struggle against the apartheid regime and calling out farewells to Mandela, who died Dec. 5 at the age of 95.

Army helicopters had been circling overhead but then a sudden quiet fell over the amphitheater as the hearse arrived. Eight warrant officers representing the various services and divisions of the South African military carried the casket, led by a military chaplain in a purple stole. The officers set down the coffin and removed the flag.

Officials have banned cameras from the viewing area and asked people to turn off their mobile phones.

Mandela's body will lie in state for three days at the Union Buildings, atop a hill overlooking Pretoria. The architect who designed it envisioned its two wings, made of half a million cubic feet (14,100 cubic meters) of stone, representing the Afrikaans and English languages spoken in the country — but none of the land's native languages.

Even from its inception, the majestic buildings have long been considered a symbol of governance in the country, and of apartheid until Mandela took office.

Each day, Mandela's coffin will be driven back to 1 Military Hospital to be held overnight. Authorities have asked the public to line the street as an honor guard for each trip.

Mandela's body will be flown Saturday to Qunu, his home in the Eastern Cape Province. He will be buried Sunday.

A massive memorial service, attended by nearly 100 world leaders, was held for Mandela at a Johannesburg stadium on Tuesday. Police said Wednesday that retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu's home in Cape Town was robbed while he was away, attending the memorial. An investigation was underway.

Like Mandela, Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to promote basic rights and reconciliation during the apartheid era.

Comments

Darwin's choice

Nelson Mandela is a leader Barack Obama should try to emulate.

He could start by spending 27 years in prison.

-- Don Imus

coasterfan

Imus got fired a few years back for a stunningly racist comment made over the air. Why should we care what he thinks?

Darwin's choice

Because he's correct.

Donegan

You sir, Have insulted their god. Penance must be made in the form of a donation to the DNC or You can spend one day wiping the drool from a true believer during the state of the union address. Help coaster out, Red lobster is tired of having her steal all the Bibs every time he reads from his prompter.

deertracker

The President is not a GOD and he is not considered to be one by anyone I know. You just don't want to give the man credit for his many accomplishments in office and in his personal life. That's fine, you don't have to give him any credit, he can take it because he earned it. It is you that need a bib for all the constant whining and crying about someone that is trying to make a difference. What are you doing to contribute to the betterment of America? Coaster does not need the help, you do!

BabyMomma

Paying taxes. Stupid question. What is HE doing to help America?.........I picture Deertracker sitting in a nice comfy chair, smoking a pipe, and occasionally cupping a fart in his hand to get a good whiff of his awesomeness.

deertracker

Your picture is not clear nor will it ever come into focus. You are simply making noise. Go lay down!

Contango

Re: "You just don't want to give the man credit for his many accomplishments in office,"

More like:

The egotistical narcissistic Pres. Obama willingly accepts the credit for occurrences and events which he has had little or nothing to do with, but is unwilling to accept NONE of the responsibility or blame for failure.

Whaa, whaa….it’s the Republicans fault! whaa, whaa.

An old saying which Pres. Obama illustrates BRILLIANTLY:

90% of success is just showing up.

deertracker

What has he accepted credit for that is not due? I have heard him accept responsibility for several missteps even when it was not his fault. You just don't like the guy because he is BETTER than you. It is what it is. Don't hate, APPRECIATE!

Contango

Re: "What has he accepted credit for that is not due?"

BUT one example:

"'Under President Obama, domestic oil production is at an eight-year high,' the announcer intones as charts appear on the screen."

"Much of the increase in production during under Obama has come from state and private lands that the president does not control."

http://www.politifact.com/virgin...

-------------------------

Re: "I have heard him accept responsibility for several missteps even when it was not his fault."

Got an example Sport?

Darwin's choice

Oh deertracker.......

obama has been awarded another one......

however, he has REALLY earned this one all by himself.....

"Obama health care promise named 'Lie of the Year'"

Donegan

Wetnap? The man has earned nothing, He got to where he is at through big money backers and affirmative action. The guy is nothing more than a activist turned insurance salesman. Now run along and throw your self under a bus, Your god demands a sacrifice for his latest boondoggle.

deertracker

Bull and you know it. Speak with some intelligence to me or not at all.

Donegan

Face it no one knows anything about the guy before his election, He had everything sealed. What we do know of him is he lies, He has no respect for anyone other than himself, He cannot construct a sentence without a teleprompter and has sold most Americans a load of bull that only someone with half a brain would actually believe. The louder you scream that he deserves respect and adoration the more mental it makes you actually look.
As for speaking with intelligence, From experience I have learned that to speak with Obama worshippers I must speak in short sentences or very slowly.

Contango

"We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office."

- Aesop

"Obama writes in his memoir, Dreams From My Father, stated: 'I’d arrived at an unspoken pact with my grandparents: I could live with them and they'd leave me alone so long as I kept my trouble out of sight.'"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mad...

FORWARD CHOOM GANG!

deertracker

We don't care what he thinks. A racist would though!

Contango

Re: "Officials have banned cameras from the viewing area,"

I guess to prevent no more "selfies" huh?

Darwin's choice

Though the photo was a "selfie", the others of the Mrs. were unbelievably funny.She was not a happy First Lady. Again...

Contango

As I wrote elsewhere:

I got to wondering why Michelle didn't leave lil' Barry at home with the other children, then I remembered that he's a "special needs child." :)

Contango

Valarie Jarrett will probably give lil' Barry a good "talkin' to" when he gets home.

deertracker

Both of you can read minds now? Who knew?

Contango

Re: "Both (snip)"

"Sacred cows make the best hamburger" - Mark Twain.

BabyMomma

I hope they have the Hip Hop sign language guy back! He was a absolute riot!!!

deertracker

Who is they?

BabyMomma

Your mom.

sandtown born a...

A story about a great leader and all you pigs can do is as usual complain about each other's political views. How sad is that? VERY SAD

Contango

Re: "A story about a great leader,"

WHO Nelson Mandela?

He was a communist. Even the CIA thought so back in 1962.

http://www.nytimes.com/1990/06/1...

He also admired that murderous b*stard Fidel Castro.

SamAdams

Come on Sandtown, if Barack Obama himself can make everything all about him, so can we!

But just to make you happy and stay on subject: Do you know what the White House Twitter account released when news of Nelson Mandela's death became public? A picture of BARACK OBAMA sitting in Mandela's former jail cell. Know what went WITH the picture? A quote. From BARACK OBAMA.

Who could possibly be surprised he'd continue to disrespect the circumstances by laughing and taking selfies during a memorial service?

ADDED NOTE: As concerns the selfie, I'm pretty sure I saw the "Tweet of the Week" on Twitter this afternoon: "Michelle Obama's campaign against obesity was thwarted when the President reached for a Danish..."

Darwin's choice

LOL...That's pretty good Sam!

FUNERAL EXPENSES
Obama goes on a State visit to Israel . While he is on a tour of
Jerusalem , he has a fatal heart attack.
The undertakers tells the US diplomats: "You can have him shipped
home for $1 million or you can bury him here in the Holy Land for $100."
The US diplomats go into a huddle and come back to the undertaker and
tell him they still want Obama flown home.
The undertaker is puzzled and asks: "Why would you spend $1 million
to get him home when it would be wonderful to be buried here in this
religious country and you would only spend $100?"
One diplomat replied: "More than 2000 years ago a man died here, was
buried here, and just 3 days later he rose from the dead. We simply
can't take that risk".

deertracker

I don't care about other's political views. They are entitled to whatever view they want but that does not give them the right to make up lies about someone just because of said view.

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