Robben Island hosts vigil for Mandela

14 December 2013 6:01 AM

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Saturday 14 December 2013 06:27

Almost 300 people gathered on Robben Island last night for a night vigil in memory of former president Nelson Mandela. An educational officer from the Robben island museum, Vanessa Mitchell, says they decided to host the event for Capetonians, because few of them will be able to go to Qunu.

Ministers from various dominations, including the Rastafarian movement, delivered messages and led prayers outside the B Section of the prison, where Mandela was locked up for almost 18 years of his life.

Madiba’s coffin, draped in the South African flag, is expected to leave 1 Military Hospital shortly for the Waterkloof Air Force Base, where ANC-alliance leaders and veterans, including former Umhkonto we Sizwe cadres, will say their final goodbye to him.

The ANC has been Mandela's lifelong political home since the 1940s. Speakers will include Mandela family members. After the ceremonial goodbye, Madiba's coffin will be accompanied by four old ANC friends and "slow marched" onto 28 Squadron's Lockheed C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft, with which the body will be flown to Mthatha.

Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula will be among those who will receive Mandela's coffin in Mthatha.

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