South Africans urged to line route of Mandela funeral procession
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.