Friday, April 20, 2018

South Africans wait hours to view Mandela's body

PRETORIA, South Africa — Theophalus Riba got up early Wednesday and hurried to participate in something momentous: He stood in line for five hours under the hot sun to see the casket of Nelson Mandela.

The last time Riba had waited in line that long was in 1994, when he was voting for Mandela as president in the nation's first truly open elections.

Mandela's body lay in state Wednesday at the Union Buildings, once a powerful symbol of South Africa's brutal system of apartheid and the site where he was sworn into office 19 years ago as the country's first black leader.

Laid in a casket made partly of glass to show his face, Mandela, who died last week at 95, was dressed in one of his trademark batik "Madiba shirts," in black and gold.

"When I first heard the old man had left us, I was in a terrible state. But now that I've seen his face, I'm very relieved," said Theboho Sephapo, 32, a Defense Department employee. "His face was as beautiful as it was when he was alive.''

Some mourners collapsed with grief as they passed the body and had to be helped away.

Mandla Mandela, the grandson chosen by Mandela to be chief of their clan, stood by the casket. Earlier, he had looked stricken as he followed the coffin as it was carried into the complex's stone amphitheater, which President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday formally named for Nelson Mandela.

Most South Africans got their first view of the flag-draped coffin early Wednesday as it left 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria.

The mood was somber and deeply sad, in contrast to the joyful celebrations of his life in recent days marking Mandela's contribution as a freedom fighter and peacemaker.

The casket was set under a grand mahogany canopy with a roof of translucent fiberglass tiles, where it was to lie for three days. Zuma entered first to view the body, followed by Mandela's widow, Graca Machel, who placed her hands on the casket and gazed at Mandela before walking on, wiping away tears. Other family members followed.

South African and world leaders then filed past, pausing and bowing in front of the coffin. Former President Thabo Mbeki, who was Mandela's deputy and successor, paid tribute as well.

F.W. de Klerk, the man who with Mandela negotiated the transition from white-minority rule and who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with him, showed visible emotion as he passed. The men received the award almost 20 years ago to the day, on Dec. 10, 1993.

Officials said there weren't enough buses to shuttle people from three locations. Hundreds waited half a day or more only to be turned away just after 4 p.m. so the body could be returned to the mortuary for the night.

"I felt a very emotional feeling, seeing this great man, a powerful man, a man who stood up for the country, lying down there," said Charlotte Parker, 24, a member of the ruling African National Congress and a provincial government intern. "I shed tears. I felt hurt, because in my mind I was saying I wish I could have seen him alive, at least shaking his hand, not at his last moment."

Comments
Suspect in Gilchrist deputies’ slayings has Tampa Bay ties

Suspect in Gilchrist deputies’ slayings has Tampa Bay ties

The man identified as the suspect who fatally shot two Gilchrist County deputies in a restaurant Thursday afternoon before taking his own life has ties to the Tampa Bay area.Deputies say John Hubert Highnote, 59, of Bell — who was found dead outside ...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
Florida education news: Student walkouts, security, constitutional amendments and more

Florida education news: Student walkouts, security, constitutional amendments and more

STUDENT PROTESTS: Aiming to keep their gun control and school safety message alive, high school students around the Tampa Bay area and Florida will hold another class walkout in memory of the 1999 Columbine shooting. "After Parkland, I've f...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Forecast: Scattered showers could dampen weekend plans across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Scattered showers could dampen weekend plans across Tampa Bay

Scattered showers and thunderstorms could pester Tampa Bay throughout the weekend, culminating in a peak chance of rain early next week.A small cold front will meander over the bay area by Friday afternoon but should have little affect on the area, t...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Portion of I-75 closed in Sarasota due to smoke in road

Portion of I-75 closed in Sarasota due to smoke in road

SARASOTA — A portion of southbound Interstate 75 is closed in Sarasota County due to smoke in the road.According to broadcast reports, smoke from a prescribed burn in the area has settled over the roadway. The roadway is closed at mile marker 205, ne...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Daystarter: Tampa Bay students to stage walkout; ‘Crabby Bill’ Loder dies; details emerging in deputies’ killer; breaking down the Bucs’ 2018 schedule

The Daystarter: Tampa Bay students to stage walkout; ‘Crabby Bill’ Loder dies; details emerging in deputies’ killer; breaking down the Bucs’ 2018 schedule

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• A dry cold front moved through the bay area overnight but it won’t affect temperatures much. It might be a little cooler in the North Suncoast, but that’s it. Bay area highs will stil...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Gaza man killed by Israeli fire as 4th border protest begins

Gaza man killed by Israeli fire as 4th border protest begins

Gaza health officials say Palestinian killed by Israeli fire as fourth weekly protest along Israel border gets underway
Updated: 1 hour ago
Gaza man killed by Israeli fire as 4th border protest begins

Gaza man killed by Israeli fire as 4th border protest begins

Gaza health officials say Palestinian killed by Israeli fire as fourth weekly protest along Israel border gets underway
Updated: 1 hour ago
Alabama mail-bomber the oldest executed in US modern times

Alabama mail-bomber the oldest executed in US modern times

Alabama man convicted in 1989 mail-bomb slaying of federal judge is executed, oldest prisoner put to death in US since it resumed carrying out the death penalty in 1970s
Updated: 1 hour ago
Woman who lost pink house, court case seeks box office win

Woman who lost pink house, court case seeks box office win

A Supreme Court case that involved a Connecticut woman and her little pink house is now a movie
Updated: 1 hour ago

South Sudan says military chief has died during Egypt visit

South Sudan says military chief has died during Egypt visit; new pressure on president
Updated: 1 hour ago