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South Africans urged to line route of Mandela funeral procession

Published on Dec 11, 2013 9:56 AM
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People celebrating the life of freedom icon Nelson Mandela during the memorial service for the former South African president at the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg on Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013. South Africans will form a guard of honour on Wednesday for the funeral cortege of Mr Mandela as it passes through the streets of Pretoria on a journey laden with symbolism. -- PHOTO: AFP

PRETORIA (AFP) - South Africans will form a sombre guard of honour on Wednesday for the funeral cortege of their iconic leader Nelson Mandela as it passes through the streets of Pretoria on a journey laden with symbolism.

The government has encouraged the public to turn out in force and line the route from the city's 1 Military Hospital to the Union Buildings where Mr Mandela was sworn in as their first black president nearly 20 years ago.

The procession marks the start of a three-day lying in state, to give ordinary South Africans the chance to say a final, personal farewell to the man who pulled the country into a modern, multi-racial age and away from the toxic era of apartheid.

Although Pretoria's population has become more diverse in recent years, the capital retains a strong presence of Afrikaners, descendants of the first Dutch settlers who arrived in the 17th century.

 
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