Mandela to be buried next to his relatives

FILE PICTURE: The body of former president Nelson Mandela arrives at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 13 December 2013 for the last day that he is lying in state. The funeral will be held in Qunu on Sunday. Picture: Christine Vermooten/The Citizen/Pool

Former president Nelson Mandela will be buried next to his relatives in Qunu on Sunday following a state funeral.

Mandela’s father Mphakanyiswa Gadla Henry, his mother Noqaphi Nosekeni and his son Magkatho Lewanika Mandela are buried at the family grave site in the Eastern Cape village. It was Mandela’s wish to buried next to his family.

President Jacob Zuma announced last week that the struggle icon would be given a state funeral.

About 5000 people are expected to attend the state funeral, among them Britain’s Prince Charles, African Union Commission chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda, and US civil rights activist Reverend Jesse Jackson.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who presided over the funerals of other struggle heroes such as Steve Biko, Chris Hani and Walter Sisulu, would not attend the funeral.

On Saturday, Tutu said he cancelled his flight to the Eastern Cape to attend the funeral after he received no indication that his name was on the guest list.

Government said Tutu should have called if he wanted to attend the funeral because no invites were sent out. However, the archbishop did not call.

Mandela began his final journey home to Qunu on Saturday as an air force plane carrying his casket took off from Pretoria, where tens of thousands of mourners had viewed him lying in state this week.

His body arrived at the Mthatha airport shortly after 2pm. Some members of the Mandela family, Abathembu chiefs and other dignitaries kept watch as the plane came to a standstill.

Mandela’s body was then moved to Qunu.

Members of his family accompanied his remains to the village.

A public vigil would be held on Saturday night at the Walter Sisulu University’s Nelson Mandela Drive campus.

After the state funeral has concluded on Sunday, the AbaThembu would receive the body to bury it according to royal protocol.
Mandela died at his Houghton, Johannesburg, home last Thursday, at the age of 95.


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