Mandela’s body taken to presidential inauguration site

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Pretoria, Dec 11 (IANS) The body of former South African president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela was Wednesday brought back to the Union Buildings here after the memorial service held at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg suburb of Soweto Tuesday.

The seat of the South African government and the office of the country’s president, the Union Buildings is where Mandela was sworn in as the country’s first democratically elected president almost 20 years ago.

South Africa’s most famous statesman and Nobel laureate died Dec 5 aged 95.

Mandela’s body arrived in a glass-sided black hearse just before 8 a.m. Wednesday from the 1 Military Hospital in Thaba Thswane. His coffin was draped in the South African flag, the official SA News reported.

He will lie in state at the Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre, where the public will have an opportunity to view the body of the father of the nation.

Grandson Ndaba Mandela received the body at the Amphitheatre.

The public will be able to view the body from noon until 5.30 p.m. Wednesday, but cameras and cellphones will not permitted.

The public will be allowed to view the body only after it is viewed by members of the Mandela family and several heads of state who are in the country.

On Thursday and Friday, the public will have access to the amphitheatre from 8 a.m to 5.30 p.m.

Mandela’s body will be laid to rest Dec 15 at his native village Qunu in the country’s Eastern Cape province.

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