Nelson Mandela lies in state in Pretoria; throngs expected to pay respects

kplr11.com

(CNN) — Heads bowed, solemn, they filed by.

The rich, the powerful. The famous and the family. All of them bidding goodbye to anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela on Wednesday, the first of three days his body will lie in state at the seat of South Africa’s government.

First was South African President Jacob Zuma, then came Mandela’s widow Graça Machel and former wife Winnie Mandela, both wearing black turbans.

In near silence, dozens of family members passed by as military honor guards dressed in white flanked the coffin on each end.

There were others too. Former South African leaders Thabo Mbeki and F.W. de Klerk, the country’s last apartheid-era president and Nobel Peace Prize winner. U2’s Bono also paused for a moment before moving on. So did Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

The first several hours was reserved for family and dignitaries, but the public will be allowed to file past…

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