Mandela family inspired by support

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A street vendor holds up a statue depicting former president Nelson Mandela in Pretoria. Thousands of people lined up to say goodbye to Mandela, whose body lay in state in the Union building where the anti-apartheid hero was inaugurated in 1994 as South Africa's first black president. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Johannesburg - The Mandela family was inspired by the various messages of support and events for former president Nelson Mandela, it said on Friday.

“The various memorial and prayer services, concerts, public lectures, messages of support and condolences... remain a source of great inspiration to (Mandela's widow) Mama Graca Machel, (Mandela's ex-wife) Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and the entire family,” spokesman General Temba Matanzima told reporters in Johannesburg.

“We drew further inspiration and courage in the long queues of thousands of our people, who braced the cold and wet conditions to pay respects to this icon and leader of the nation,” he said.

The family extended its gratitude to President Jacob Zuma and the government for all arrangements made to enable the people of South Africa to honour Mandela in a dignified manner.

“Madiba is certainly at peace having (been) bade farewell by the people he so dearly loved, sacrificed and was prepared to lay down his life for,” Matanzima said.

“This is a constant reminder to all of us that Madiba belonged to the people and it is only correct that he was returned to the people before his journey back to Qunu.”

Mandela died at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, last Thursday, at the age of 95.

A memorial service was held for him at FNB Stadium, in Johannesburg, on Tuesday, and his body lay in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria from Wednesday to Friday.

On Saturday, his remains will be flown to the Eastern Cape, and he will be buried after a state funeral in Qunu on Sunday.

Matanzima said the family was strengthened by the world's prayers for Mandela ahead of the funeral.

“Madiba will indeed rest in peace knowing he dedicated his entire life to the just cause of the liberation of all people, black and white, from the shackles of oppression and exploitation, even at a great personal cost,” he said.


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