Sunday, 15 December 2013
He was laid to rest in Qunu, in the east of the country, following a state funeral service attended by around 4,500 people. Mr Mandela's burial was a private ceremony, with only a few hundred family, friends and dignitaries present at the graveside. The vehicle carrying Mr Mandela's casket, covered with a national flag, arrived at the family compound under cloudy skies at 4 pm local time. It was accompanied by an enormous convoy of police, military and other vehicles, and a military helicopter hovered overhead. According to Xhosa tribal tradition, Mr Mandela was honoured as a leader by placing a skin on the coffin, replacing the flag. Mr Mandela's journey started yesterday with pomp and ceremony at an air base in the capital before being flown aboard a military plane to Qunu village. At the Mthatha airport the former president's casket was welcomed by a military guard and placed in a convoy for the 20 mile (32km) voyage toward Qunu. Residents and people who had travelled for hours thronged a road leading to Qunu, singing and dancing as Mandela T-shirts were handed out. Tata may your soul rest in peace
Friday, 13 December 2013
South Africans have been warned not to attempt to go to see Nelson Mandela's body in the capital, Pretoria, unless they are already in the queue. The anti-apartheid leader's body is lying in state at the Union Buildings, where he was sworn in as South Africa's first black president in 1994. Tens of thousands have been flocking to the venue to pay their respects. Mr Mandela will be buried at his ancestral home in Qunu on Sunday. He died on 5 December aged 95. His widow Graca Machel and President Jacob Zuma were among those to pay their respects on Wednesday. World leaders and celebrities also came to say goodbye to Mr Mandela, who died last Thursday at the age of 95.
Saturday, 7 December 2013
One must go back to Dallas, Texas, in 1963 to find a comparable occasion of collective bereavement as that which has met the death of Nelson Mandela, at the age of 95. Even the assassination of President John F Kennedy registered less resonantly in the days before the global village – and, in any case, the trajectory of the American politician's life represented promise shattered rather than hope fulfilled. Mandela has surely been venerated by more millions in his lifetime than any political figure in history. In working to free his country from racial division, he led an essentially peaceful revolution, culminating in his release from prison in 1990 and the post-apartheid election of 1994, which saw him elected as the first president of a democratic South Africa. The world responded to the qualities it perceived in the man, as well as to the scale of his achievement. Was he born to it, this child of royal descent? His uncompromising defiance of a cruelly repressive government – as commander of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the Spear of the Nation – spoke loud. Was he a great general, or a great politician, this herdsboy who became a president and more? Was he a great orator? He did, after all, in his statement from the dock in the Rivonia trial make one of the most memorable speeches in the annals of political struggle. Or was his statesmanship what mattered, bringing peace to a nation that seemed destined for bloody racial war? Curiously, Mandela's greatness seems to have lain in all these things, and yet in none of them. Nelson Mandela was very fond of telling a story of how, in the early 1980s, while at the windswept Robben Island prison where he had been banished for opposing the apartheid regime, he was taken to the mainland in Cape Town for a medical check-up. His prison warders generously agreed to his request that he be allowed to stroll on the beach for a few minutes. Walking on the beach, Mandela, the world's most famous political prisoner, was anonymous. Having been in jail since the early 1960s, and his pictures banned from being circulated in public or published in the media, very few people knew his appearance.Tata Madiba May your soul rest in peace