LONDON (AFP) – Nelson Mandela “drew his last breath and just rested”, his ex-wife Winnie said Thursday in her first public comments on his death.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela said she rushed to the former South African president’s bedside for his final moments, in an interview with Britain’s ITV television.
She said: “I went close to him and I noticed he was breathing really slowly. I was holding him trying to feel his temperature and he felt cold. Then he drew his last breath and just rested… He was gone.”
Mandela village under lockdown ahead of burial
Also South African troops lined the road to Nelson Mandela’s burial site in his boyhood home at Qunu, as preparations for his funeral got under way Thursday.
SOUTH AFRICA, Pretoria : Navy officers guard the coffin of former South African President Nelson Mandela during the lying in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on December 12, 2013. Mandela, the revered icon of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and one of the towering political figures of the 20th century, died in Johannesburg on December 5 at age 95. AFP PHOTO
His homestead was under virtual security lockdown as armed troops arrived in truck convoys to carry out dress rehearsals inside.
Thousands of high-profile mourners, including numerous political figures are expected to descend on the remote location in Eastern Cape province, where Mandela will finally be laid to rest on Sunday.
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