Nelson Mandela's body arrives at ancestral home in Eastern Cape


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Nelson Mandela's body arrives at ancestral home in Eastern Cape

After a solemn ceremony in Pretoria, Mandela's coffin has journeyed to the village of Qunu where his funeral will take place



  • theguardian.com,
  • Saturday 14 December 2013 17.42 GMT

    The body of Nelson Mandela arrived on Saturday at his ancestral home in Qunu in the rolling hills of South Africa's Eastern Cape and was greeted by singing, dancing locals ahead of the anti-apartheid leader's state funeral set for the following day.

    As the hearse bearing the remains of South Africa's first black president appeared on the horizon, crowds by the road broke into Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika (God Bless Africa), the evocative national anthem adopted after the end of apartheid in 1994.
    "I'm so excited and at the same time I'm so hurt because I'm seeing him for the last time," said grandmother Victoria Ntsingo, as military helicopters escorting the cortege clattered overhead.
    "After his long life and illness he can now rest. Madiba is home. His work is done," she said, referring to Mandela by his clan name.
    Earlier, the aircraft carrying Nelson Mandela's body has landed in Eastern Cape province as his coffin was transported to his ancestral home village ahead of the state funeral for South Africa's first black president on Sunday.
    The South African air force plane landed at Mthata airport on Saturday afternoon. During a solemn ceremony at Waterkloof air base in Pretoria that was broadcast live on South African television, President Jacob Zuma praised Mandela for bringing discipline and vision to the long and difficult struggle against apartheid.
    "Go well tata, you have played your part," Zuma said in his eulogy, using the Xhosa word for father. "We will always remember you."
    The homage was the most overtly political event of the mourning period since Mandela's death on 5 December at the age of 95. ANC leaders and allied trade unions hailed Mandela as a determined "soldier" and revolutionary. Zuma led the assembled mourners, who included Mandela's widow Graça Machel and his former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, in revolutionary song after his speech.
    Mandela's coffin, drapped in the South African flag, was accompanied by a military honour guard as it was transferred onto a military plane for transport to the village of Qunu.
    The state funeral will combine military pomp and the traditional rites of Mandela's Thembu clan. It will be attended by family members, national leaders and foreign guests including Prince Charles and the US civil rights activist Reverend Jessie Jackson.
    The ANC ceremony on Saturday came after nine days of mourning and memorials held in Johannesburg and Pretoria.
    This included three days of lying in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria from Wednesday to Friday. More than 100,000 people queued for hours to say a last personal goodbye.
    One of Mandela's grandchildren, Mandla, thanked those who had come to pay their respects to the Nobel peace laureate.
    "I have witnessed his army, I have witnessed his people, I have witnessed ordinary South Africans who walked this long walk to freedom with him, and I can assure the African National Congress today that the future of this country looks bright."
    Representatives from leftwing parties such as Angola's MPLA and Ireland's Sinn Féin attended Saturday's homage.
    Zuma, whose rule has faced widespread criticism, addressed the leadership issue in his speech.
    "The question is, can we produce as ANC other Madibas?" he asked, using Mandela's Xhosa name.
    "We need more Madibas so that our country can prosper. Yes we are free, but the challenges of inequality remain."
    Sunday's funeral at Qunu, planned as a more intimate event than the stadium memorial held on Tuesday and attended by a host of world leaders, will bring together members of Mandela's family and clan and a smaller group of dignitaries.
    They include African and Caribbean leaders, the Iranian vice-president Mohammad Shariatmadari, Lesotho's King Letsie III and the former French prime ministers Lionel Jospin and Alain Juppé.
    Mandela's coffin will be taken in military procession from Mthatha in Eastern Cape to Qunu, a journey of around 30 miles, allowing locals a chance to say goodbye to their most famous son.

 
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Motorcycles escort the hearse carrying the coffin of Mandela en route to Waterkloof air base on the outskirts of Pretoria

People wait on the roadside to watch the hearse arrive at the air base

People waiting to see Mandela's hearse turn away as a low-flying escort helicopter blows dust and debris up in the air

Mandela's coffin is carried on to a plane after a farewell service at the Waterkloof air

People wave at the aircraft as it takes off from Waterkloof air base on the outskirts of Pretoria

The South African air force flies in formation above Mandela's childhood home in Qunu

People take photos of the aircraft carrying Mandela's coffin

Women take part in a Mgidi initiation ritual ahead of the arrival of Mandela's body in Qunu

Mandela's coffin arrives at Mthata airport as family members look on

Mandela's widow Graça Machel (right) and his former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela watches his coffin arrive at Mthata airport

South Africans watch the funeral cortege leave Mthatha on its way to Qunu
 
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Heshma kubwa na anayostahiri amepewa Mandela.
 
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R.i.p tata madiba tutakuenzi daima
 

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