Tag Archives: Mandela funeral

Mandela laid to rest in Qunu

City Press
Nelson Mandela laid to rest
@LubabaloNgcukan #MandelaFuneral
15 December 2013 14:34

The funeral procession leaves for the grave site at the Mandela farm in Qunu, Eastern Cape. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/Foto24
Former president Nelson Mandela’s family, heads of state, traditional leaders, members of the religious community and army generals looked on as his coffin was lowered into the ground after a mourning period of close to ten days following his death last Thursday night.

The broadcast feed to which many South Africans had access, was cut off ahead of the moment today, for the sake of the family’s privacy.

Only a tenth of the people who attended the late struggle icon’s funeral were allowed into the burial site.

The state funeral was attended by 4 500 mourners of which 450 were allowed at the burial site for logistic reasons, according to programme director and ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Unlike the funeral service, which had some light moments, there was a solemn silence over Qunu as army generals marched ahead of the gun carriage that transported Mandela’s coffin. The procession to the gravesite moved slowly.

While most of Mandela’s family members were taken to the gravesite by car, his grandson, Mandla, could be seen walking directly behind the carriage.

When the procession came to a halt, straps securing the coffin were removed, soldiers tilted the coffin and gently eased it off the gun carriage.

Eight military pallbearers then pushed the coffin onto a trolley towards the gravesite.

Muffled drums played in the background.

Banks of white flowers flanked the coffin at the burial site.

SA National Defence Force chaplain Reverend Monwabisi Jamangile said at the burial that Mandela had truly achieved ultimate freedom.

“We will remember Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela,” he said while praying for him before his coffin was lowered into the grave.

“Rest in peace. Yours was truly a long walk to freedom and now you have achieved the ultimate freedom in the bosom of your leader, God Almighty.”

Jamangile asked that God soothe the family in this time of grief, when their longing for Mandela became unbearable.

As soon as the flag was removed from the coffin and handed to Madiba’s widow, Graça Machel, a 21-gun salute was fired.

Helicopters bearing the South African flag and fighter-jets in formation flew overhead, as the nation bid farewell to its most beloved statesman.

Madiba, whose gravesite lies on the northern side of the Qunu farm, joins his three late children, Makgatho, Thembekile, and baby Makaziwe.

– Lubabalo Ngcukana and Sapa


Mandela funeral underway

Nelson Mandela funeral farewell in Qunu

The coffin of Nelson Mandela was brought into the marquee for the service

Nelson Mandela’s state funeral is under way at his ancestral home in Qunu, ending a week of commemorations for South Africa’s first black leader.

Some 4,500 people – including foreign dignitaries – are attending the service, which blends state ceremonial with traditional rituals.

A close friend, Ahmed Kathrada, told the service he had lost an “elder brother” who was with him for many years in prison on Robben island.

Mr Mandela died on 5 December aged 95.

Members of his family attended an overnight vigil, with a traditional praise singer believed to be chanting details of his long journey and life.

Some 4,500 people – including foreign dignitaries – are attending the state funeral

Nelson Mandela always said he wanted to be buried in his childhood home of Qunu
The coffin was taken on a gun carriage from Mr Mandela’s house to a giant white marquee that had been


Pumza Fihlani
BBC News, Qunu
Clear skies in the small village of Qunu but a heaviness in the air. A mournful start to the final goodbye to Nelson Mandela.

His coffin, draped in the South African flag, made its way into the large white marquee where thousands were waiting to bid him farewell.

It is a state funeral the like of which South Africa has never seen. There is a sombre mood here as funeral songs ring out. “Lizalise idinga lakho”, which means “fulfil your promise, Lord”, was one of Mr Mandela’s favourite church hymns.

One of Mr Mandela’s closest friends Ahmed Kathrada said his life was in a “void” now that Mr Mandela was gone. “I have no one to turn to,” he said.

After the State funeral, he will be handed over to local chiefs for a private ceremony which will end in the salute “Ah, Dalibhunga” – the final goodbye.

Some guests sang and danced to celebrate Mr Mandela’s life as the service began.

Inside the marquee, Nelson Mandela’s portrait had been placed behind 95 candles, representing one for each year of the late president’s life.

After the national anthem, Nkosi Sikelel’I Africa (God Bless Africa) was sung, the service heard from a family spokesman, Chief Ngangomhlaba Matanzima, who thanked the army medical team that had treated Mr Mandela before he died.. “A great tree has fallen, he is now going home to rest with his forefathers. We thank them for lending us such an icon.”

Mr Kathrada’s voice filled with emotion as he spoke of the difficulty of recent months and of how he had held his friend’s hand the last time he saw him in hospital. “Farewell my dear brother, my mentor, my leader,” he said.

Two grandchildren then addressed the congregation. Ndaba who read an obituary, and Nandi, who spoke fondly of her grandfather as a disciplinarian. “We shall miss you… your stern voice when you are not pleased with our behaviour. We shall miss your laughter.”

Listening to the tributes were Graca Machel, his widow, and his second wife, Winnie-Madikizela Mandela, who sat either side of President Jacob Zuma.

Both women were praised for their love and tolerance, in an address by Malawi’s President Joyce Banda.

African National Congress members, veterans of the fight against apartheid and foreign dignitaries – including several African presidents, the Prince of Wales – are among the guests.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu – a long-time friend of Nelson Mandela – is there, having earlier said he had cancelled his flight as he had not received an invitation. US talk show host Oprah Winfrey is also present.
President Zuma, who was booed at last week’s stadium commemoration in Soweto, then led the service in song before giving his funeral oration.

After the two-hour service, Mr Mandela’s Thembu community will conduct a private traditional Xhosa ceremony – including songs and poems about Mr Mandela’s life and his achievements.

An ox will be slaughtered. A family elder will stay near the coffin, which has been draped with a lion’s skin, to talk “to the body’s spirit”.

‘Sad but happy’
On Saturday, Mr Mandela’s coffin was flown from Waterkloof airbase in Pretoria on a C130 military aircraft, escorted by two fighter jets. It later landed at Mthatha airport, some 700km (450 miles) away.

In line with tribal custom, Nelson Mandela’s grandson Mandla accompanied him on the journey, speaking to his coffin to tell him he was on his way home to rest.

His funeral will be conducted according to the traditions of the Xhosa people, from which he comes
To solemn music, the coffin draped in a South African flag was moved by a military guard of honour and placed in a hearse to begin the 32km journey to Qunu, where Mr Mandela had wanted to spend his final days.

People waving flags and cheering and singing – in places 10 to 12 deep – lined the route taken by the cortege through Mthatha town to pay their last respects.

Xhosa funeral rituals

A family elder talks to “the body’s spirit”
The coffin is covered with a leopard’s or lion’s skin
An ox is slaughtered and eaten on the day
Another ox to be slaughtered next year to mark the end of mourning
How a Xhosa chief is buried

The cortege then drove through the gates of the Mandela homestead in Qunu.

Ahead of the flight to the Eastern Cape, members of the African National Congress paid final tributes to Nelson Mandela at a ceremony in Pretoria.

President Jacob Zuma, other ANC leaders and more than 1,000 members of the organisation which Mr Mandela once led, attended the event at the Waterkloof air base.

At least 100,000 people saw the former president’s body lying in state for three days in Pretoria, but some had to be turned away.

Nelson Mandela’s smiling portrait welcomed the guests inside the giant marquee in Qunu.

South Africa’s Jacob Zuma (second left) is one of several African leaders paying their last respects to Mr Mandela.

Many people walked to watch the funeral on the Mandela family’s property in Qunu.


Mandela’s body flown to Eastern Cape

City Press
Plane bearing Mandela’s body arrives in Mthatha
14 December 2013 13:55


The casket of former president Nelson Mandela is carried to a military aircraft after a farewell ceremony at Waterkloof Air Base, on the outskirts of Pretoria, on Saturday (December 14 2013). Picture: Themba Hadebe/AP
The airforce C-130 Hercules aircraft carrying former president Nelson Mandela’s body touched down at the Mthatha airport after 1.30pm today.

As the plane and the two jets escorting it flew over the Mthatha city centre, crowds of people jumped up and down, screaming and cheering with excitement.

The convoy carrying Mandela’s body was expected to drive through the streets of Mthatha before being taken to Qunu, about 31km away.

Speaking in Qunu earlier, AmaHegebe chief Phathekile Holomisa said that before the plane left, and throughout the journey, an elder or senior male family member would talk to the body and keep it informed of the progress of the journey.

The person would address Mandela as if he was still alive, said Holomisa. “This is because his spirit lives.”

Members of the Mandela family arrived just before noon.

The family stepped off the plane and got into cars parked on the runway.

Mandela’s widow Graça Machel was escorted into the terminal by Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter, Ndileka Mandela, who was holding her arm. Machel was followed by ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Young and old gathered on the streets of Mthatha in the Eastern Cape.

Armed soldiers lined Nelson Mandela Drive, which runs through the centre of the town, watching one group of more than 300 people singing and dancing in adjoining York Street.

The soldiers stopped the singers from entering the main thoroughfare.

Marshals in yellow and orange reflective jackets stood along parts of the route where the crowds were gathered.

The plane carrying Mandela’s coffin left Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria this morning.

He will be buried in Qunu, where he spent much of his childhood, tomorrow. He died at his Houghton, Johannesburg, home last Thursday at the age of 95.



South Africa – eyebrows raised at omission of Tutu from Mandela funeral

Mail and Guardian
The ANC has been accused of pettiness for excluding retired archbishop Desmond Tutu from Nelson Mandela’s funeral in the Eastern Cape.

Retired archbishop Desmond Tutu, one of the most prominent figures in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, has been excluded from the funeral of Nelson Mandela on Sunday in what has been described as a politically motivated snub.

Critics accused the ANC of looking petty by apparently failing to invite Tutu, one of the most vocal campaigners for Mandela’s release from jail during white minority rule.

An estimated 5 000 guests including Prince Charles, Malawian president Joyce Banda and various other dignitaries will attend the state funeral in Qunu, the village where Mandela grew up. Tutu’s daughter Mpho, chief executive of the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, said on Friday: “The archbishop is not an accredited clergy person for the event and will thus not be attending.” His office declined to comment further.

The former archbishop has become a fierce critic of the ANC in recent years. In 2011 he compared it unfavourably to the apartheid regime and warned that “one day we will pray for the defeat of the ANC government”.

Eyebrows were raised when Tutu’s name did not appear on the order of service for Mandela’s national memorial service in Johannesburg on Tuesday. He was eventually invited to speak after the main programme, but by then the stadium was virtually empty.

Holomisa’s response
His absence from Sunday’s burial, the climax of an unprecedented week of mourning, provoked anger and bewilderment. Bantu Holomisa, a former ANC politician close to the Mandela family, said: “There must be a mistake. Why would the government not do that? He should be the first person accredited. It’s strange – there must have been a breakdown.”

Asked if Tutu’s attacks on the ANC were the cause, Holomisa replied: “They cannot use that. Mandela and Tutu were like brothers. Mandela had time for Tutu and Tutu had time for Mandela. It doesn’t sound good at all.” Aubrey Matshiqi, a research fellow at the Helen Suzman Foundation, said: “It’s quite sad that he’s not been invited. Is it the family or is it the government? Is it both? Did the family come under pressure not to invite him?

“It’s a very bad decision, given how close they were. In the absence of a convincing explanation, it looks petty.”

Allister Sparks, a veteran journalist and biographer of Tutu, said: “I don’t know what to make of it. I would have thought he belonged there. Tutu has been quite a vocal critic of the ANC. It comes as a surprise and arouses suspicions of a political motivation behind it.”

Reflecting on Tutu’s relationship with Mandela, Sparks added: “They were very close. Through the period when Mandela was in jail, Tutu was effectively the leader of the liberation struggle in this country.”

Tutu condemning Mandela family
Earlier this year Tutu condemned the Mandela family for fighting each other in court while Mandela lay ill in hospital, describing their public battle over his children’s burial place as “almost like spitting in Madiba’s face”.

A spokesperson for the Mandelas said: “The family is not involved in who should come and not come at that level. They are busy mourning. It is the state that is encouraging people to attend or not attend. I’m not aware of any exclusion.”

Government ministers in Qunu on Friday were reluctant to comment on the matter. Dipuo Peters, the transport minister, said: “In African culture we don’t invite people to funerals; they say they would like to attend. I don’t know about Bishop Tutu – you’re giving me news.”

ANC spokespeople did not respond to requests for comment.

. – © Guardian News and Media 2013


Mandela’s Body lying in state

Nelson Mandela’s body lying in state in Pretoria

The body of Nelson Mandela has been taken in procession to the Union Buildings in Pretoria

The body of Nelson Mandela has arrived at the main government building in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria, where it will lie in state for three days.

His remains were taken in procession from a hospital mortuary to the Union Buildings.

Members of the public lined the route to form a “guard of honour”.

The public, invited heads of state and international guests will be able to view the body of the former president who died last Thursday, aged 95.

He will be buried in his home village of Qunu in Eastern Cape province on Sunday.

Tens of thousands of South Africans joined scores of world leaders for a national memorial service on Tuesday as part of a series of commemorations.

The body of Nelson Mandela arrived at Pretoria’s Union Buildings early on Wednesday

Small crowds had gathered as Mr Mandela’s body was driven through Pretoria

The mood was celebratory rather than sombre

His coffin was draped in the South African flag
Quick convoy
The procession left the city’s 1 Military Hospital shortly after 07:00 (05:00 GMT) on Wednesday. The coffin could be seen inside a black hearse, draped in a South African flag.

It travelled along Kgosi Mampuru Street and Madiba Street on the way to the Union Buildings.

The hearse was in a long convoy with military outriders and military ambulances.

The convoy sped quickly through the streets, with some people running alongside the military guard, the BBC’s Joseph Winter in Pretoria says.
Mr Mandela’s remains will make the journey from the military hospital every morning from Wednesday until Friday, the government announced.

“The public are encouraged to form a guard of honour by lining the streets,” it said.

The Union Buildings are the official seat of the South African government, where Mr Mandela was sworn in as the first black president in 1994.

At the memorial service on Tuesday, President Jacob Zuma announced that the Union Buildings would be renamed the Mandela Amphitheatre.

The Mandela family and selected VIP visitors will be able to view the body from 10:00 local time (08:00 GMT) on Wednesday.

Lying in State

Nelson Mandela’s body lie in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria 11-13 December
Coffin taken every morning from the mortuary to the Union Buildings
Public encouraged to line the route
Mandela family and selected visitors will be able to view the body from 10:00 on Wednesday; public can file past from 12:00 to 17:30
The public will then be able to view the body from 08:00 to 17:30 on Thursday and Friday
Route to Mandela lying in state
Members of the public can file past from 12:00 to 17:30.

The public will then be able to view the body from 08:00 to 17:30 on Thursday and Friday.

Great liberator’
US President Barack Obama led the tributes to Mr Mandela at Tuesday’s memorial service in rainy weather at the FNB stadium in Soweto.

He said the former South African president was a “giant of history”, describing him as the last great liberator of the 20th Century.

“We will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again. While I will always fall short of Madiba [Mr Mandela’s clan name], he makes me want to be a better man.”

On Saturday, Mr Mandela’s remains will be transported to the Eastern Cape from Air Force Base Waterkloof in Pretoria by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

A military guard of honour will welcome the arrival. The coffin will then be placed on a gun carriage and then transported to a hearse.

The BBC’s Clive Myrie spoke to a group of mourners who said they wanted to the see the late president “for the last time”
Mr Mandela’s body will then be taken to his home village of Qunu, where the Thembu community will conduct a traditional ceremony.

A national day of reconciliation will take place on 16 December when a statue of Mr Mandela will be unveiled at the Union Buildings.

Big screens have been set up across the country to show the planned national events.


South Africa – Zuma says Mandela funeral will be on 15th December

Mail and Guardian

Jacob Zuma has announced that Nelson Mandela’s funeral will be on December 15, while December 10 has been marked as Madiba’s memorial service.

A file photograph of former president Nelson Mandela in 2006. (Anthony Kaminju, Reuters)                    
A file photograph of former president Nelson Mandela in 2006. (Anthony Kaminju, Reuters)


President Jacob Zuma has announced the funeral plans for Nelson Mandela, who died on December 5.

Zuma declared December 8 as a day of prayer and reflection, while the memorial service will be held on December 10 at the FNB Stadium, in Johannesburg, after which his body will lie in state from December 11 to 13.

His funeral will be held in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, on December 16.

S Africa: has Mandla sold Mandela funeral coverage to SABC?


MANDLA Mandela has 15 days to declare to the High Court whether or not he has sold the television rights to the funeral of his grandfather, former president Nelson Mandela.

HAPPY DAYS: Newly inaugurated Thembu chief Mandla Mandela kisses his wife Thando, while cousins Phiwo and Zine Mabunu look on


Though the former Mvezo chief has denied rumours that he sold the rights to the SABC for R3 million in 2009, his first wife, Thando Mabunu-Mandela, is sceptical and is demanding answers.

Mabunu-Mandela told the Dispatch in an exclusive interview yesterday that though she was entitled to half of the Mvezo chief’s cash, she would not accept any money made from Madiba’s imminent death.

She said her share – of what could amount to R1,5-million – will be donated to a charity to uphold the Mandela family name.

On Friday the Mthatha High Court granted an order compelling Mandela to declare all his financial interests – including the alleged SABC deal.

Not only would this finally clear up the controversy over whether or not Mandela went behind family members’ backs to sell the rights, it would also enable the court to equally divide the assets between the estranged couple.  Read more…