News / Africa

Emotional and Personal Tributes at Mandela's Funeral in Qunu

Mandela's Body Arrives in Hometown Villagei
X
December 14, 2013 3:29 PM
VIDEO: Mandela's Body Arrives in Hometown Village
VOA News
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.

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 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 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 Mandela.

Granddaughter Nandi Mandela described 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.”
   
Mandela's body will be buried in a private plot in accordance with traditional practices later today.

At a Saturday briefing, minister for the presidency Collins Chabane said about 4,500 people were expected to attend the funeral and about 450 people are expected to witness his burial, which is set for noon local time, in Qunu.

The ruling African National Congress party held a memorial service for the late president at Waterkloof air base near Johannesburg earlier Saturday before the remains were flown to the Eastern Cape Province.

The funeral procession carrying the remains of former South African President Nelson Mandela proceeds to Mandela's hometown and burial site in Qunu, Dec. 14, 2013.The funeral procession carrying the remains of former South African President Nelson Mandela proceeds to Mandela's hometown and burial site in Qunu, Dec. 14, 2013.
x
The funeral procession carrying the remains of former South African President Nelson Mandela proceeds to Mandela's hometown and burial site in Qunu, Dec. 14, 2013.
The funeral procession carrying the remains of former South African President Nelson Mandela proceeds to Mandela's hometown and burial site in Qunu, Dec. 14, 2013.
Well-wishers waved flags and cheered on Saturday as a hearse carrying Mandela's flag-draped coffin made its way from the airport in Mthatha to his family compound, situated in a hilly region of the Eastern Cape with green fields.
 

VOA correspondent Scott Bobb, who was among those who saw the convoy pass, called the mood one of excitement and jubilation tinged with sadness.
 
Many onlookers waited for as long as eight hours to see the cortege.

Tutu in attendance
 
It had been rumored that one notable absence may have been Mandela's long-time friend, retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In a Saturday statement, Tutu had said he did not receive a formal invitation and did not want to "gate crash" the funeral of his fellow Nobel laureate.
 
Chabane responded by saying the government did not issue invitations to any guests, and anyone who wanted to attend the funeral was welcome to do so.

Nelson Mandela

  • 1918 - Born in Transkei, South Africa
  • 1944 - Joined African National Congress
  • 1956 - Charged with treason, later acquitted
  • 1962 - Convicted of sabotage and sentenced to 5 years
  • 1964 - Sentenced to life in prison for plotting to overthrow the government
  • 1990 - Released from prison
  • 1991 - Elected president of ANC
  • 1993 - Won Nobel Peace Prize
  • 1994 - Elected president of South Africa
  • 1999 - Decided not to seek a second term as president
  • 2004 - Retired from public life
  • 2007 - Formed The Elders group
  • 2011 - Briefly hospitalized for a chest infection
  • 2012 - Hospitalized again,this time for gallstones
  • 2013 - Treated for a recurring lung infection, dies on Dec. 5
Some have viewed the lack of a formal invitation to Tutu as a snub. The religious icon has been an outspoken critic of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party.

A spokesman for the Anglican cleric issued a statement late Saturday saying Tutu will travel to Qunu early Sunday for the funeral. There was no word on what prompted the change of plans.
 
Last public appearance
 
After Mr. Mandela's body arrived in Eastern Cape Province, police struggled to keep crowds from surging onto the highways as Mandela's convoy passed with the flag-draped coffin.

For many, witnessing their beloved leader’s last public appearance was a chance to reflect on how the anti-apartheid icon's life impacted their own.
 
Sizwe, who goes by only one name, says he was eight years old when Mandela was freed from prison, and that his own generation will never forget South Africa’s first black president.
 
“Especially us, the youth, because we are looking up to him — a lot of things that he has done for us," he said. "Even here in this area there are a lot of changes through him. If he didn’t fight for this country like he did, I don’t think we’d be standing where we are today."
 
Luyanda Liberty Gcaza agreed, explaining that because of Mandela's push to make education more accessible, he is graduating with a university degree in biology.
 
“In the olden days it was rare to find a man like me in South Africa, completing his degree," said Gcaza. "I think this is special because education was the first [most] important thing for him, because he said that in order for South Africa to be free we need to be educated.”
 
Nano Binase, a mother of two who waited for hours to pay her last respects, says she wants her children to learn of Mandela’s humility and ability to forgive despite numerous injustices.
 
“He has lived an exemplary life. We can [should] follow his example," she said.
 
Mandla Mandela, the former South African president's grandson and designated family heir, said his 95-year-old grandfather continued to work to improve people's lives even after his retirement from politics.

Story continues below photogallery:

  • Police form a barricade after the the cut off time for viewing the body of Nelson Mandela outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Dec. 13, 2013.
  • Crowds of people walk after learning they would not be able to view Nelson Mandela's body at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Dec. 13, 2013. (Peter Cox for VOA)
  • South African police control the crowd following a crush as people jostled to see former South African president Nelson Mandela on the last day of his lying in state in Pretoria, Dec. 13, 2013.
  • People line up to catch a bus to see the remains of Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Dec. 12, 2013.
  • People line up for courtesy buses to ferry them to the Union Buildings to view the body of Nelson Mandela in Pretoria, Dec. 12, 2013.
  • A woman weeps after paying her respects to Nelson Mandela as Mandela lies in state for the second day at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Dec. 12, 2013.
  • South African mourners hold posters of former president Nelson Mandela, while chanting slogans as the convoy transporting his remains passes by in Pretoria, Dec. 11, 2013.
  • Military personnel carry the remains of the late Nelson Mandela upon arrival at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Dec. 11, 2013.
  • Nelson Mandela's widow Graca Machel, right, pays her respects to the former South African president at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Dec. 11, 2013.
  • Mourners line up after waiting for hours to get into a bus to go to the Union Buildings where the casket of Nelson Mandela lies in state for three days in Pretoria, Dec. 11, 2013.
  • People react as the procession for former South African president Nelson Mandela leaves the military hospital in Pretoria, Dec. 11, 2013.
  • Defense force personnel and hospital staff salute a procession for former South African president Nelson Mandela as it leaves the military hospital in Pretoria, Dec. 11, 2013.
  • Women wave South African national flags before the cortege carrying the coffin of former South African President Nelson Mandela passes by in Pretoria, Dec. 11, 2013.

"This world icon worked tirelessly even after the achievement of democracy in South Africa to continue improving lives," he said. "Even as he retired from politics his attention shifted to social issues such as HIV and AIDS, and the wellbeing of the nation's children."
 
Massive outpouring
 
Authorities say more than 100,000 people paid their respects over three days while Mandela lay in state in Pretoria's Union Buildings, South Africa's seat of government and the place where Mandela was sworn in as the nation's first black president in 1994, after serving 27 years in prison for his role in the struggle against white minority rule.
 
He was also eulogized Tuesday at a memorial in Johannesburg that was attended by more than 60,000 people and more than 80 heads of state and government.
 
On Friday, police struggled to control crowds that tried to push past barricades at the site as the three-day viewing period drew to a close. The former South African leader died December 5 following a lengthy illness.

VOA correspondent Scott Bobb contributed to this report from Mthatha, South Africa.

You May Like

Yemen Brings US, Iran Closer to Naval Face-off

US sending two more ships to waters off coast of Yemen to take part in 'maritime security operations' More

Minorities Become Majority Across US

From 2000 to 2013, minorities became the majority in 78 counties in the United States. Here's where those demographic shifts are happening More

Japan's Maglev Train Breaks Own Speed Record

Seven-car 'magnetic levitation' train traveled at more than 600 kilometers per hour during test run Tuesday More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Nicholas Akuamoah-Boateng from: Kumasi-Ghana
December 14, 2013 7:59 PM
Still we are not learning our lessons! Why ? Because Bishop Tutu is a critic of the ruling gov you are snubbing him? I have already appealed to President Zuma to adhere strictly to the idea and visions of Madiba.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
X
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs