Family, Dignitaries Pay Homage as Nelson Mandela Lies in State

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PRETORIA, South Africa – Nelson Mandela’s coffin, draped in a South African flag, was carried up the steps of the Union Buildings Wednesday by eight warrant officers representing the armed forces, underscoring the somber reality of his death.

APphoto_APTOPIX South Africa Mandela Mourning

South African President Jacob Zuma pays his respects to former South African President Nelson Mandela during the lying in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013. Second right is Mandela’s widow Graca Machel and right, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s former wife. (Credit: AP Photo/Marco Longari, Pool)

Thin crowds lined the road as his coffin passed, led by a phalanx of motorcycle police with their headlights on, many of them moved to tears.

The mood was a departure from the joyful celebrations of recent days, which have marked his contributions as a freedom fighter and peacemaker.

Chantell Rooibadjie, 36, sprinted from her house to the road in her pajamas to see the motorcade, as it passed.

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