Originally created 06/11/04

Mandela to carry Olympic torch on its first trip to South Africa



CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- Nelson Mandela will carry the Olympic torch when it arrives in South Africa for the first time, organizers said Thursday.

Cape Town Mayor Nomaindia Mfeketo brings the flame here on a flight from Cairo on Saturday. It then travels by foot, cable car and helicopter on a journey that goes through the Cape Flats townships, iconic Table Mountain and Robben Island, where the 85-year-old former president spent most of his 27 years in jail.

The torch's first trip to South Africa comes as the country celebrates its first decade of all-race democracy.

The Olympic torch was lit March 25 in Athens and is scheduled to travel around the world before returning to Greece for the opening ceremony Aug. 13. From Cape Town, the flame travels to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.