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Mandela's Body Arrives in Hometown Village



The body of former South African president Nelson Mandela has arrived in Eastern Cape village of Qunu, the hometown of the former anti-apartheid leader.

Well-wishers lined the streets on Saturday as a security-led convoy carried Mr. Mandela's body from the airport in Mthatha to the nearby village.

VOA correspondent Scott Bobb has been following the convoy. He said the onlookers' mood was one of excitement and jubilation, tinged with sadness.

A large tent has been set up in Qunu for the funeral on Sunday. Mr. Mandela's burial in Qunu will be mostly a small family affair, with only a few guests in attendance.

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

Mandla Mandela said his 95-year-old grandfather continued to work to improve people's lives even after his retirement from politics.



"This world icon worked tirelessly even after the achievement of democracy in South Africa to continue improving lives. 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."



Earlier in the week, tens of thousands of mourners turned out to pay tribute to Mr. Mandela while his body was displayed in Pretoria's Union Buildings.

The Union Buildings are South Africa's seat of government, and the same place where Mr. Mandela was sworn in as South Africa's first black president in 1994, after serving 27 years in prison for his role in the struggle against white minority rule.

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.

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