Mandela gets standing ovation

2010-07-11 19:46

Johannesburg - Former president Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel put in a brief appearance at Soccer City stadium for the closing ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup on Sunday night.

Mandela, warmly dressed in a black overcoat, gloves and fur hat, waved and smiled as he was greeted with a standing ovation from the 95 000-strong crowd.

The frail anti-apartheid icon who turns 92 this week and was wheeled into the stadium in a golf cart, left after a few minutes to watch the final from home.

His grandson Mandla Mandela on Sunday said FIFA president Sepp Blatter had put too much pressure on the former president to attend the final.

He said Blatter had been "inconsiderate" given that the family was still grieving the death of Mandela's great-granddaughter Zenani in a car accident on the eve of the tournament.

"My grandfather has recently lost a great-granddaughter and the family is in mourning," Mandela said. "They should be appraised of our customs and traditions."

Mandela cancelled his scheduled appearance at the opening after learning of Zenani's death.

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