Nelson Mandela: World leaders pay respect in Pretoria

The body of Mr Mandela will be lying in state for three days

World leaders today paid their respects before the flag-draped casket containing the body of Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid icon and first black president of South Africa.

The body of Mr Mandela is currently lying in state in the grounds of the Union Buildings in Pretoria and will remain there for three days.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and South African President Jacob Zuma were among leaders who passed by the casket in two lines. Four junior naval officers in white uniforms kept watch.

Mr Mandela's widow Graca Machel, his former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and other family members viewed his body as it lay in a glass-top coffin while hundreds lined up to pay their respects as three days of mourning in the executive capital began.

Singer Bono of the band U2 and model Naomi Campbell were also present. Ms Campbell appeared visibly upset after paying her final respects.

Crowds watched motorcycle-riding police officers as they escorted the hearse from a military hospital outside of Pretoria to the Union Buildings. People lined the streets to watch the procession as it left 1 Military Hospital just after 5am GMT, singing songs from the struggle against the apartheid regime and calling out their farewells to Mandela as it passed, who died on 5 December at the age of 95.

The coffin travelled along Kgosi Mampuru Street and Madiba Street on the way to the Union Buildings.

Police blocked traffic, backing up cars for several kilometers (miles) on a highway leading into Pretoria.

Eight warrant officers representing the various services and divisions of the South African National Defense Force 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.

Each day Mr 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.

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

Mr Mandela emerged from 27 years in prison to become 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.

Mr 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 Tuesday, world leaders including United States President Barack Obama eulogised Mandela. In his speech, Obama called Mr Mandela “the last great liberator of the 20th century.”

“We will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again,” Obama said. “But let me say to the young people of Africa, and young people around the world — you can make his life's work your own.”

Additional reporting by Associated Press

News
people And here is why...
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
Arts and Entertainment
Mystery man: Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in '‘Gone Girl'
films... by the director David Fincher
Life and Style
stoptober... when the patch, gum and cold turkey had all failed
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

LSA Level 3 required in Caerphilly

£50 - £60 per day + plus Travel Scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The Job: O...

Welsh Year 6 Teacher required in Barry

£100 - £110 per day + Plus travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The Job:...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Welsh Teacher Year 2 required in Caerphilly

£100 - £105 per day + plus Travel Scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The Job:...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?