Graca, Winnie embrace ahead of service

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Zindzi Mandela, Zenani Mandela, Makaziwe Mandela, Winnie Mandela Madikizela and Graca Machel attend the memorial service for Nelson Mandela. Photo: AFP

Johannesburg - Nelson Mandela's ex-wife Winnie Mandela bent down to embrace Graca Machel before taking her own seat at the former president's memorial service at the FNB Stadium in Soweto on Tuesday.

They held onto each other for a few moments, both clad in black jackets, dresses and turbans.

Winnie took her seat three seats to the left of Graca. She smiled when greeted. Graca stared ahead, her face drawn.

Both women were loudly cheered by the crowd.

African National Congress deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa began welcoming the arriving heads of state at 11.30am.

As he called out their names, the dignitaries walked to the front of the podium to receive what turned out to be mostly applause from the audience.

However, Chinese Vice-President Li Yuanchao was booed.

Former South African presidents FW De Klerk and Thabo Mbeki, as well as United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon and Cuban President Raúl Castro, were all warmly cheered. - Sapa

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