Former president Nelson Mandela raises the hand of the new president, Thabo Mbeki, after Mbeki took the oath of office at the Union Buildings in Pretoria in this June 16, 1999, image. File picture: Peter Andrews

Johannesburg - Former president Thabo Mbeki received a hero's welcome at former president Nelson Mandela's memorial service at the FNB stadium, in Soweto, on Tuesday.

The crowd rose, chanting “Mbeki, Mbeki” as he walked to take his seat.

Some made cycle-like movements with their hands, indicating they wanted change.

Mourner Pule Modiegi told reporters Mbeki should come back to lead the ANC.

“He is an economist. Under his watch our economy was good.”

On Twitter, Mail&Guardian associate editor @phillipdewet commented: “Well I never. Mbeki just got the loudest, most sustained cheer of any arrival. Including Zuma & Bono.” - Sapa