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Nelson Mandela mourned across the world

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Posted  Friday, December 6   2013 at  10:32
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South Africans have gathered in Johannesburg and Soweto to mourn their former leader, Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday aged 95.

Crowds paid tribute, dancing and singing in front of Mr Mandela's former home in Soweto throughout the night.

Flags flew at half mast after President Jacob Zuma announced his death in a late night national TV address.

Mr Mandela spent 27 years in jail before becoming South Africa's first black president in 1994.

His administration replaced the racist white-minority regime that had enforced segregation of black and white people in a policy known as apartheid.

Mr Mandela went on to become one of the world's most respected statesmen.

A service of national mourning will be held at a 95,000-seater stadium on the outskirts of Johannesburg. His body will then lie in state for three days in the capital, Pretoria, before being taken for a state funeral in the village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape, where he grew up.

"God was so good to us in South Africa by giving us Nelson Mandela to be our president at a crucial moment in our history," said long-time ally Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

At a service in Cape Town on Friday, he said Mr Mandela had "taught a divided nation to come together".

Mr Mandela had been suffering from a lung illness for a long time.

He had been receiving treatment at home since September, when he was discharged from hospital.

As soon as the news broke, small crowds began to gather in Soweto's Vilakazi Street, where Mr Mandela lived in the 1940s and 1950s.

Crowds chanted apartheid-era songs, including one with the lyrics: "We have not seen Mandela in the place where he is, in the place where he is kept."

By daybreak, dozens more had gathered.

"We are celebrating his life and all that he did for us," said one of the mourners, Terry Mokoena.

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