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South Africans Mourn as Mandela Buried

South Africans said their final goodbyes Sunday to Nelson Mandela, who was laid to rest in his ancestral village of Qunu.

Some 4,500 friends, family and dignitaries converged on the tiny village to attend a state funeral highlighted by musical and spoken tributes to the late president and revered statesman.

Afterward, a select number of guests took part in a graveside ceremony, where Mr. Mandela's body was lowered into the ground after a 21-gun salute and a flyover by military helicopters and planes.

The service ended a 10-day period of tributes and mourning for Mr. Mandela, South Africa's first black president, and a central figure in the struggle to end the racist apartheid regime.

Speaking at the funeral Sunday, South African President Jacob Zuma called his predecessor "a fountain of wisdom, a pillar of strength, and a beacon of hope for all those fighting for a just and equitable world order."



Other mourners at the funeral included Britain's Prince Charles, American TV icon Oprah Winfrey, billionaire Richard Branson and numerous South African activists who assisted Mr. Mandela in the struggle against apartheid.

Some of the most moving tributes came from those who described Mr. Mandela not as a 20th century colossus, but as a mentor and beloved relative.

Ahmed Kathrada, an anti-apartheid activist who spent time at Robben Island prison with Mr. Mandela said, "I don't consider him my friend. He was my older brother."

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 run your race."

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