Family will not leave Madiba alone - report

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Graca Machel, the widow of former president Nelson Mandela, pays her respects at his coffin as he lies in state at the Union Buildings. Photo: Marco Longari

Pretoria - A representative of the Mandela family has said the family will follow tradition and ensure former president Nelson Mandela's body is not alone before burial, eNCA news reported on Thursday.

“Some family are already there [In Qunu where the funeral will be held]. Some are around Pretoria because we can't leave Madiba alone,” Themba Matanzima told the news station.

He said Mandela's grandson, Mandla, was expected to be with the body during the process of it lying in state at the Union Buildings.

“It is in line with our traditions and culture. Although government has provided troops... The feeling is that normally adult males will always be at the side of the coffin... Madiba knows this is supposed to be done when an AbaThembu male passes on.”

Matanzima said it was expected that the body be spoken to.

“We are guiding the spirit, we are reporting because he is not with us physically, that is the reason behind speaking to him.”

He said the family was coping in the aftermath of the death of its patriarch.

“We are holding up because of the prayers and the support.”

On Wednesday, Mandla Mandela, sat with his grandfather's coffin the whole of the first day as it lay in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

On Thursday, he again arrived with the hearse and accompanied the coffin as it was placed in the public viewing area. - Sapa


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