The ANC said goodbye to Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela at the Waterkloof Airforce Base in Pretoria today. His body was transported by plane to his hometown, Qunu, in the Eastern Cape.
A private ceremony and burial will be held there tomorrow.
Various speakers addressed the audience, many focusing on Madiba’s role as leader of the ANC.
Mandla Mandela, Madiba’s grandson who stood vigil by his casket for four days, paid tribute to the former president. “He was the father of our nation. He had so much wisdom and commitment,” he said.
Mandla told of his time standing next to his grandfather at the Union Buildings lying-in-state. “I witnessed his army. I witnessed his people. I saw thousand taking the long walk and I can assure you the future of this country looks bright,” he said to cheers from the crowd.
President Jacob Zuma addressed the audience and focused on the history of the ANC and the role Madiba played in the struggle.
“We have remembered him in a very special way. It has been an unprecedented mourning and outpouring of love,” he said. He added that Mandela had the abitlity to combine theory and practice. “He always took time to think about the struggle and plan the struggle… He could persuade people. No one could argue against Madiba,” he said.
Aside from freedom songs being sung in honor of Mandela, Mzwakhe Mbuli, lifted the crowd with a passionate poem in tribute to all the struggle icons. A piece from one of Mandela’s favorite poems, Invictus, was also recited.