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Thoughts And Prayers Fill South African Consulate

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TWC News: Thoughts And Prayers Fill South African Consulate
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South Africa's consulate in New York on Friday was a magnet for many who wanted to share their memories of the late Nelson Mandela. NY1's Vivian Lee filed the following report.

Overnight and before dawn New Yorkers on Friday paid their respects with candles, flowers and notes outside the South African consulate in Murray Hill to honor Nelson Mandela.

"He was one of the great leaders of the world," said one consulate visitor.

"Felt compelled this morning to just put down a flower in memory of Mr. Mandela. It felt very right," said another consulate visitor.

For one South African couple far from home the humble tribute on a rainy day befitted the man who set an example as prisoner then president of a racially torn country.

"Mandela gave us back our dignity, gave us back our pride to be a South African. I think he redeemed us, in the eyes of ourselves and in the international world," said one consulate visitor.

A flag at the home of the world's best known international forum, the United Nations, was set to fly at half staff all day in Mandela's honor.

Meanwhile, South Africa's ambassador to the UN, once appointed by Mandela himself as a diplomat to Zimbabwe, laid out the challenges his country now faced without the man who has been its moral compass for the better part of the last century.

"Make sure that we fight for equal opportunities for all South Africans, to eradicate poverty, to ensure there is development and justice. As I said, Mandela laid the foundation," said Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Kingsley Mamabolo.

A book of condolences that anyone can sign will be available Monday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the consulate where staff are preparing for a long line of people eager to share their parting thoughts for a man many believe is irreplaceable.

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