Frail Mandela at Zenani's funeral

2010-06-17 11:22

Johannesburg - Nelson Mandela emerged stiffly from a car and leaned on a walking stick to attend Thursday's funeral for his 13-year-old great-granddaughter, who was killed in a car crash after the World Cup's opening concert.

The anti-apartheid icon did not attend the tournament's opening ceremony and first game following the death of Zenani Mandela. Police say the close family friend who was driving could be charged with drunken driving and culpable homicide.

Thursday's funeral was held in the brick chapel of the Johannesburg private school Zenani had attended. She was a member of the school's choir, marimba club and drum corps, and had told relatives she wanted to be a plastic surgeon.

Frail and nearing 92, Mandela's public appearances are increasingly rare. He arrived on Thursday accompanied by his wife, Graca Machel, and was driven from the school's front gates to the chapel a few minutes after the service began.

He took a front pew, his face sombre and a corsage of pink roses pinned to the lapel of his black coat.

Also among the mourners was his ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who is Zenani's great-grandmother.

Mourners, including Zenani's classmates in school blazers, each held a single white rose. They stood to sing Amazing Grace as the funeral began. Then, a montage of family portraits including one of Zenani hugging Mandela was projected on a screen as a recording of Lean on Me played.