Nightly News   |  December 07, 2013

South Africa mourns Mandela

Bands marched. People danced and sang. It’s all in remembrance of former South African president Nelson Mandela. NBC’s Richard Engel reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> tomorrow is the official day of prayer and reflection here in south africa , part of a ten-day period of mourning over the death of nelson mandela . behind me the house he once lived in, now a museum where crowds gathered throughout the day, many of them old enough to have experienced firsthand the oppression under the white minority government and then their children born into free south africa , all of them today paying tribute to mandela hen ace legacy. richard engel is also in south africa and has more tonight from the current mandela home. richard?

>> reporter: good evening, lester. the thunderstorm has also rolled into here in johannesburg. behind me there are thousands of bouquets and tributes, very wet tributes and bouquets in front of the home where nelson mandela died as south africans are coming out and celebrating the life of the man who transformed this country. no one mourns like south africans . in soweto, where mandela once lived, bans marched today and they danced and sang to celebrate the man who helped end apartheid. the mandela family also made its first public statement.

>> the family will learn from him to appreciate the values that made him the leader that was recognized by all. the lesson that a life lived for others is a life well lived.

>> reporter: in joe hansberg mandela square they came to take pictures by mandela 's statue.

>> it makes me proud to be south african .

>> reporter: signed books and laid flowers.

>> the unity that he brought to us all, we love him.

>> i brought them because i wanted them to begin to get an understanding of the impact of the human being that nelson mandela was.

>> reporter: victims of apartheid brought their children who grew up free of segregation. becky mbata brought his 17-year-old daughter to the mandela center for memory, a museum of his life and struggle, from his letters in neat and tiny handwriting smuggled out of prison to the highlights of the know tell prize. at the memory center there is this glass replica of 3457b della's cell. for years, mandela didn't even have a bed in here, just a mat on the concrete floor. nelson mandela

>> reporter: for all the celebration there's also anxiety here. nelson mandela , the nation's most famous son is also for many its founding father. the question is, what will it be like without him? tomorrow, that day of prayer , then a massive memorial, and finally the burial itself but lester, it is expected to be wet all week.