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South Africans Say Goodbye To Mandela In Pretoria

Dec 12, 2013
Originally published on December 12, 2013 7:00 am
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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Nelson Mandela is lying in state for a second day in South Africa's capital, Pretoria; a chance for one, last glimpse of the country's most beloved leader. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports that the remote location of Sunday's burial - far away, in Mandela's home province - means that for most, filing past his casket is their final farewell.

OFEIBEA QUIST-ARCTON, BYLINE: The exuberance of the week since his passing, with singing and dancing to celebrate his life, has become quieter and more reflective as his funeral approaches. Thousands more mourners are streaming into the union buildings where Mr. Mandela was sworn in as president 19 years ago, and is now lying in state. South Africans are standing in long, orderly lines to bid him their own, personal goodbye.

ALICE MABAPA: I'm Alice Mabapa. It was painful to see him lying there. It was very painful. But I've made closure. He looks so peaceful. Ah, he's so sweet.

QUIST-ARCTON: After a third and final day of filing past - tomorrow - Nelson Mandela's mortal remains will be flown to his Eastern Cape rural home region for a private burial on Sunday, almost a thousand miles away from Pretoria. The rolling hills of his beloved Qunu village where Mandela, the herd boy, was raised as a child, will be his final resting place.

Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, NPR News, Johannesburg. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.