World News

Emotional and Personal Tributes at Mandela's Funeral in Qunu

TEXT SIZE - +
Friends, world leaders and family members hailed former South African President Nelson Mandela on Sunday as a man who transformed his family, his country and the world in a somber funeral service in his rural hometown.

Mr Mandela died last week at the age of 95.

World leaders and international celebrities were among the thousands of people who descended on the town of Qunu .

Mourners included Oprah Winfrey, billionaire Richard Branson and numerous South African activists who assisted Mr. Mandela in the struggle to end the racist apartheid regime. He spent 27 years in prison for his opposition and emerged to be elected South Africa's first black president, in 1994.



Family representative Chief Ngangomhlaba Matanzima mentioned politics in his speech, criticizing those who booed current president Jacob Zuma at a memorial service this week.

"What we saw on Tuesday at FNB Stadium should never be seen again in this country," he told mourners in the Xhosa language.



Some of the most moving tributes came from those who described Mr. Mandela not as a 20th century colossus, but as a friend and beloved relative.
"I don't consider him my friend. He was my older brother," said Ahmed Kathrada, an anti-apartheid activist who spent time at Robben Island prison with Mr. Mandela.

Granddaughter Nandi Mandela described Mr. Mandela as a strict grandfather who loved telling stories of his childhood.

She finished her tribute by saying in Xhosa: "go well Madiba….go well to the land of our ancestors, you have ran your race."

Mr. Mandela's body will be buried in a private plot in accordance with traditional practices later today.

Feature Story

Posters all around town say “Communal Celebration of the canonization of John Paul II, April 27,” Krakow, Poland, April 22, 2014. (Jerome Socolovsky/VOA)

Video Could John Paul II Sainthood Stem Polish Secularization?

Poland is one of the most religious nations in Europe, and the late pope is a national hero More