Mandela: free at last

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South Africa’s first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, has been laid to rest at his home in Qunu, with full military honours.

The solemn occasion was attended by about 4500 mourners in the marquee, and speakers included SADC chairperson and president of Malawi, Joyce Banda; and Tanzania’s president Jakaya Kikwete. President Jacob Zuma delivered the Oration. The burial was attended by mainly the Mandela family and a select few special friends.

The State funeral concluded with a cannon salute and Missing Man Formation – a flyover salute performed in memory of Madiba as the country’s first democratically elected president.

Mandela’s body arrived in Mthatha on Saturday afternoon from the Waterkloof Air Force base in Pretoria. Thousands formed a public guard of honour to welcome the president’s convoy as it drove through the town on its way to Qunu. They had waited for hours; singing struggle songs and church hymns, waving flags in anticipation of his arrival. At first sight of the procession, the crowd erupted, shouting and cheering. As the procession made its way down Nelson Mandela Drive, the crowd ran after it.

While some expressed dissatisfaction that they had caught only a fleeting glimpse of Madiba’s coffin, others took solace in the closure this procession afforded them.

The funeral marked the end of ten days of mourning since the former president died on December 5 at his Houghton home in Johannesburg. He was 95-years-old.

Sunday 15 December 2013 14:01

Full details: Madiba procession and lying in state

Official service at FNB Stadium

Book of Condolences

Life and Times of Nelson Mandela