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Shrine To Mandela Grows In Johannesburg

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TWC News: Shrine To Mandela Grows In Johannesburg
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NY1's Dean Meminger is filing reports from South Africa as the country and the world mourns the death of Nelson Mandela.

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - President Barack Obama is among the world dignitaries attending tomorrow's public memorial service for Nelson Mandela, but South Africans have already been holding tributes to the civil rights icon.

In Johannesburg, a shrine to Mandela continues to grow in Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton City, where a bronze Mandela statue stands at least 20 feet tall.

The square has become a tribute site to the country's late icon, as people place flowers and candles and notes there, and also sign a condolence book.

Nelson Mandela Square is one of the largest malls and convention areas in South Africa. People come for work and business, but it is also a major tourist site.

People coming there this week say it is extra symbolic for them.

"I'd like to thank him, wherever he is in the heavens, for taking one for the team and for softening society's heavy heart," said one person.

"I am terribly sad," said another. "I know he was 95. I wanted him to live to 105, to tell you the truth. I have so much love and so respect for him."

"I think Mandela was a great man, wonderful man for his country, and I happen to be here at this time.

Obama, former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and dignitaries from around the world are arriving in South Africa Monday for Tuesday's memorial service at the soccer stadium in Johannesburg.

There are also locations, including stadiums and the Nelson Mandela Square, where huge monitors are set up so people can go and watch the memorial service.

There are other sites across South Africa where people are placing flowers and paying their final respects to the man they call an icon who helped change their country forever.

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