Nelson Mandela's funeral cortege began its solemn journey to the seat of South African government in Pretoria Wednesday, where his remains will lie in state for three days. A phalanx of motorcycle outriders led a hearse carrying the flag-draped casket of the former statesman from the city's 1 Military Hospital toward Union Buildings shortly after 7:00am (0500 GMT) on Wednesday. Along the route South Africans formed a sombre guard of honour for their iconic leader. I'm South African -- I have to be here," said 28-year-old Vaughan Motshwene.
A cortege transporting the body of former South African president and anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela left the capital's main military hospital on Wednesday en route to the Union Buildings, where he will lie in state. Thousands of people lined the streets as a procession of police motorcycles lead the black hearse carrying Mandela's coffin, which was draped in the South African flag. Mandela's death last Thursday at the age of 95 has sparked an outpouring of grief and mourning in the country he led from 1994 to 1999 as its first black president. "This a significant moment for me and my children," said 48-year-old teacher Thapelo Dlamini, who had been on waiting on the street for two hours with his two children.