Today 13 December
Among the huge lines filing past the coffin of Nelson Mandela in the last three days were mourners who had flown halfway around the world to pay their respects to the global freedom icon. Reflecting the extraordinary reach of Mandela's influence and popularity, they came from Africa, Europe and beyond to North America and Asia. Linda Koch, 66, flew from the United States with a friend especially to say a personal farewell to South Africa's first black president. Mandela's body has been on public view in a glass-top coffin in Pretoria since Wednesday, ahead of its transfer Saturday to his boyhood home of Qunu where it will be buried the following day.
PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — About 100,000 South African mourners waited in line on Friday to view the body of Nelson Mandela, which was lying in state for the third and final day, but most were likely to be turned away before officials remove the casket in the late afternoon.
By Peroshni Govender PRETORIA (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of mourners, some breaking through police barriers, flocked to South Africa's central government buildings on Friday to say a personal goodbye to anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela on the final day of his lying in state. Such was the crush of people wanting to see Mandela's body in the Union Buildings in the capital Pretoria, that the government had asked others to stay away from the park-and-ride facilities set up to take mourners to the area.
The South African government formally apologised Friday for any offence caused by the sign language interpreter it hired for Nelson Mandela's memorial, later exposed as a fake. "We sincerely apologise to the deaf community and to all South Africans for any offence that may have been suffered," Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile said in a statement. Enraged sign language experts said that Thamsanqa Jantjie's signing in front of US President Barack Obama and other world leaders gathered at Soweto's Soccer City stadium had amounted to little more than "flapping his arms around". Minister Mashatile said parliament would pass a new law early next year to regulate the profession "so that this kind of incident doesn't happen ever again."
Mqhekezweni (South Africa) (AFP) - As the world's eyes turn to the village of Qunu where Nelson Mandela will be buried on Sunday, another small rural community where the global icon spent many formative years is feeling decidedly left out. "You are welcome in Mqhekezweni, Mandela's 'secret' village," laughed Nugget Sithupo, 75, as he stood next to a rutted dirt track, waiting for a bag of maize to be ground to flour at a portable, roadside mill. Shortly after the death of his father, a nine-year-old Mandela and his mother left Qunu -- his boyhood home -- and travelled to Mqhekezweni, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) inland through the rolling treeless hills that dot the Eastern Cape landscape. "Mqhekezweni was a mission station of the Methodist Church and far more up to date and Westernised than Qunu," Mandela recalled in his autobiography, "Long Walk to Freedom".