You are here: HomeNews2013 12 11Article 294775

General News of Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Source: BBC

Mandela's body to lie in state at Union Buildings

The body of Nelson Mandela is due to be taken in procession to the Union Buildings in Pretoria where it will lie in state for three days.

Each morning his remains will be transported across the city in a glass casket.

People have been encouraged to line the route and form a "guard of honour".

The public, as well as invited heads of state and international guests, will be able to view Mandela's body at the Union Buildings.

The former South African president died last Thursday, aged 95.

The country is observing a series of commemorations leading up to the funeral, which is being held in his home village of Qunu in Eastern Cape province on Sunday.

Tens of thousands of South Africans joined scores of world leaders for a national memorial service on Monday.


Mr Mandela's remains will be transported daily from the city's 1 Military Hospital to the Union Buildings from Wednesday until Friday, the government has announced.

"The public are encouraged to form a guard of honour by lining the streets," it said.

The procession will leave the mortuary at about 07:00 (05:00 GMT) on Wednesday and travel along Kgosi Mampuru Street and Madiba Street.

The Union Buildings are the official seat of the South African government. It is where Mr Mandela was sworn in as the country's first black president in 1994.

At the memorial service on Monday, the current South African President, Jacob Zuma, announced he was renaming the Union Buildings the Mandela Amphitheatre.

The Mandela family and selected VIP visitors will be able to view the body from 10:00 local time (08:00 GMT) on Wednesday. Members of the public can file past the casket from 12:00 to 17:30.

The public will then be able to view the body from 08:00 to 17:30 on Thursday and Friday.

Great liberator

US President Barack Obama led the tributes to Mr Mandela at Monday's memorial service in rainy weather at the FNB stadium in Johannesburg.

He said the former South African president was a "giant of history", describing him as the last great liberator of the 20th Century.

"We will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again. While I will always fall short of Madiba (Mr Mandela's clan name), he makes me want to be a better man."

On Saturday, Mr Mandela's remains will be transported to the Eastern Cape from Air Force Base Waterkloof in Pretoria by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

A military guard of honour will welcome the arrival. The coffin will then be placed on a gun carriage and then transported to a hearse.

Mr Mandela's body will then be taken to his home village of Qunu, where the Thembu community will conduct a traditional ceremony.

A national day of reconciliation will take place on 16 December when a statue of Mr Mandela will be unveiled at the Union Buildings.

Big screens have been set up across the country to show the planned national events.