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Thousands queue to bid sad farewell as Mandela lies in state

BY LIAM CLARKE AND JOANNE SWEENEY

World leaders and many thousands of ordinary South Africans queued for hours to see Nelson Mandela's flag-draped coffin as he lay in state.

His eyes were closed, his white hair swept up from his forehead. Many appeared lost for a moment, looking down at Mandela in the Pretoria amphitheatre where he was sworn in as South Africa's first black president.

Mandela family members and world leaders viewed the body first. By the afternoon, the public had formed long queues, but the government said the "cut-off" point had been reached, urging people instead to arrive early on the following two days.

Leaders such as Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, South African president Jacob Zuma and others passed by in two lines.

Four naval officers in white uniforms kept watch as celebrities, including U2 singer Bono, also paid their respects. So did FW de Klerk, the last president of white rule, who shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Mr Mandela (below) for ending the apartheid era.

Mr Mandela's widow, Graca Machel, his former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and other family members also viewed his body.

South Sudan's Salva Kiir Mayardit stood transfixed before removing his trademark black cowboy hat and crossing himself.

Mr Mandela's body will lie in state for three days at the Union Buildings.

Each day, his coffin will be driven back to hospital to be held overnight. Authorities have asked the public to line the street as an honour guard for each trip.

Mr Mandela's body will be flown on Saturday to Qunu, his home in the Eastern Cape Province. He will be buried on Sunday.

Among those who have paid tribute to Mr Mandela is Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, who attended a memorial service on Tuesday.

The Ulster Unionists have complained the Sinn Fein MLA was allowed to represent the entire Executive without consultation.

Mr McGuinness said he and Peter Robinson had agreed on who would go to South Africa beforehand, as the Executive hadn't met since Mr Mandela's death.

A DUP source said Mr Robinson had opted to stay in Northern Ireland to be present for announcement of 200 new jobs in Londonderry by Fujitsu, a Japanese multi-national.

"They had just returned from Japan, where they had been lobbying for investment and had met Shinzo Abe, the prime minister, so they felt that it was important that one of them was present for this significant announcement, which coincided with Mr Mandela's memorial service," the source said.

A spokeswoman for OFMDM declined to give the cost of Mr McGuinness' trip to Johannesburg. She said: "Costs will be published in due course."

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