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BODY OF NELSON MANDELA ARRIVES IN PRETORIA TO LIE IN STATE

December 11, 2013 | UhuruSpirit

Pall bearers carry Nelson Mandela's casket into the Union Buildings in Pretoria where he will lie in state for three days. Photograph: Marco Longari/EPA



The body of Nelson Mandela has arrived at the Union Buildings in South Africa's capital, Pretoria, where the anti-apartheid hero and first black president of the country will lie in state.

Thousands of people lined the streets as a procession of police motorcycles lead the black hearse carrying Mandela's coffin, draped in the South African flag, on Wednesday morning.

Mandela's body will lie in state for three days at the Union Buildings, where he was inaugurated as president in 1994 after the first all-race elections that ended decades of white-minority apartheid rule. Traffic in Pretoria was gridlocked from early in the morning, and shops along the procession route were closed.

"This a significant moment for me and my children," said 48-year-old teacher Thapelo Dlamini, who had been waiting on the street for two hours with his two children.

Mandela's death last Thursday at the age of 95 has sparked an outpouring of grief and mourning in the country he led from 1994 to 1999 as its first black president.

Mandela will be buried on Sunday in Qunu, his ancestral home in the rolling hills of the Eastern Cape province, 450 miles (700km) south of Johannesburg. - Reuters



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