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South Africa prepares for Mandela's memorial service

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South Africa prepares for Mandela's memorial service


Crowds of all colours and creeds have continued to pile flowers, candles and balloons outside Nelson Mandela’s Johannesburg home.

Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, died at the age of 95 on Thursday after months of illness.

Since then, the country has been gripped by an outpouring of emotion.

Tens of thousands are expected at Soccer City in Soweto for a memorial service on Tuesday. It’s the same stadium where Mandela made his last public appearance at the World Cup final in July 2010. More than 70 world leaders are expected to fly into South Africa for the service.

On Monday, security services and armed forces were preparing for one of the biggest gatherings of mourners the world has ever seen.

Gerrie Gernike, Director of Johannesburg Police told euronews: “We don’t see it as a big challenge because 90 percent of the people that operate today worked with me in the World Cup finals at exactly the same venue. The area is divided into three sectors, with the commanding officers in each sector. The biggest challenge will be that the inner circle will be a vehicle-free zone and that normally gives us the biggest challenge of people that want to come right at the end and are not aware of it.”

Mandela’s body will then lie in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, the seat of power of the South African government, until his state funeral on Sunday.

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