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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid