PRETORIA, South Africa (WJLA) - The day began with those who were lucky enough to find a place on this street, as Nelson Mandela’s body was driven through Pretoria to the capital building.
We say lucky, because they didn’t have to deal with the chaos: lines that wove endlessly through the streets, parks and parking lots as far as the eye can see, and crowds moving slowly as the sun beat down on mourners.
Amongst all the voices, not one single complaint – even though this was only part of their ordeal. In order to get to this point, viewers had to drive to a staging area, pass security checks, and then board buses that then brought them to the shadow of the capital area where the viewing occurs.
Once they arrived there, they found themselves in line for yet another tedious bus ride.
Finally, all were driven up this winding path in groups of 2000. But the payoff was well worth it, they claim, because for the first time in their lives, they got to see the man who they say made their lives worth living.
As we walked this line of thousands, we witnessed the rarest sight you’ll see:
"There's only a few white people, yeah," the female visitor said with a smile.
True, she may stand out in this crowd, but listen to her without seeing her, and she has the exact same love for Nelson Mandela, and for many of the same reasons.
And while she certainly stands out here, she wasn’t the only one.
This man says the first time he actually ever even wanted to vote and did, it was for Mandela.
"I'd wait forever in line," said another.
And you’d have to think that upon hearing that, it would prompt one of those famous, Mandela smiles.