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TIME TO SAY GOODBYE to Mandela

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IT was here that Madiba stood in 1994 when he was inaugurated as the first democratic president of Mzansi.re

And it is here that the body of former president Nelson Mandela lay in state yesterday.

Members of the Mandela family, Cabinet and politicians said goodbye to him from the special viewing platform erected at the Union Buildings in Tshwane.

President Jacob Zuma, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and members of the Mandela family walked in silence to Madiba’s coffin, which was surrounded by white flowers and stood on a blue carpet.

Officials stood aside to allow the family and Mandela’s widow, Graca Machel, to view the body first.

Earlier a guard of honour had saluted the late former president as he was taken out of the hearse that carried him through the streets, accompanied by his grandchildren, Mandla and Ndaba.

Stern-faced former presidents FW de Klerk and Thabo Mbeki attended, as did Mac Maharaj, Helen Zille, Kgalema Motlanthe and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Other well-known African statesmen included former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda and
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.

Grief-stricken Naomi Campbell had to be supported and Madiba’s assistant Zelda le Grange wept as she arrived with singer Bono.

During the viewing, the silence was disturbed only by the noise of the helicopters above. Hundreds of police officials and soldiers were stationed outside.