Soldiers, civilians await arrival of Mandela in Eastern Cape


People have lined the streets of Mthatha ahead of the arrival of Nelson Mandela's body in the Eastern Cape.

A poster of former president Nelson Mandela. (AP)

Young and old gathered in the streets of Mthatha in the Eastern Cape on Saturday, ahead of the arrival of former president Nelson Mandela's body.

Armed soldiers lined Nelson Mandela Drive, which runs through the centre of the town, watching one group of more than 300 people singing and dancing in adjoining York Street.

The soldiers stopped the singers from entering the main thoroughfare.

Marshals in yellow and orange reflective jackets stood along parts of the route where the crowds were gathered.

People chanted "Nelson Mandela, Nelson Mandela" and waved small South African flags as they sheltered under colourful umbrellas. Large flags with Mandela's face and the words "N'Tate Madiba our hero forever Nelson Mandela" were being sold for R100 each. Fruit and cold drinks were also on sale. Bananas cost R5 each.

Mandela's face
Many people wore yellow and white shirts with an image of Mandela's face.

A few military vehicles accompanied police and traffic officials through the streets of Mthatha as they prepared for Mandela's arrival.

In nearby Qunu, hundreds of people gathered in the streets, lining the route Mandela's coffin was expected to taken along.

Two buses arrived filled with armed soldiers and police officers. – Sapa

Topics In This Section


blog comments powered by Disqus