Qunu awaits the final return of Mandela

2013-12-07 14:28
Gallery  |  click on thumbnail to view larger image

Qunu prepares for Mandela funeral

Soldiers and military vehicles are guarding the residence of former president Nelson Mandela ahead of his funeral in Qunu. See the latest pictures.

kalahari.com

Qunu - In Nelson Mandela's childhood village of Qunu, residents are solemnly preparing for the final return of their beloved son, who will be laid to rest there a week from now.

Elderly men in the picturesque village dotted with traditional round huts bow their heads and lower their voices when they speak of the anti-apartheid hero who has "returned to his ancestors".

Here there has been no explosion of public emotion as seen in Johannesburg, no singing to celebrate Mandela's 95 years, no all-night vigils.

His home, overlooking the hills and valleys of the Eastern Cape - where Mandela said he spent his happiest childhood days - is sombre and eerily quiet.

Respect

"We are in mourning, he deserves our greatest last respects," said Chief Mfundo Mtirara, Mandela's nephew.

Mtirara had the difficult task of breaking the news of Mandela's death to some close relatives.

"A great man is gone, we are deeply saddened, even though we knew that this day would come," he said.

"He deserved our respects while he was still alive, we are going to continue to give him that respect even in death," said Mtirara, who lives near Mandela's homestead.

The town will next week hold a public memorial service for the revered leader, affectionately known by his clan name, Madiba.

Mtirara said a delegation from the village, including Dalindyebo, the king of Mandela's Thembu clan, will travel to Johannesburg on Saturday to meet members of the Mandela family and hear about burial plans.

Traffic diverted

At the estate that Mandela built after his release from prison in 1990, armed soldiers and policemen stand guard.

The busy road near the house has been closed to traffic in preparation for the influx of luminaries and mourners expected to descend on this rural village.

Motorists have been diverted to dusty back roads.

Pipe-smoking old men idled along the village's many footpaths, often stopping to chat to peers about Madiba's passing.

"He was given to us by the ancestors, now he has returned to them," Albert Njokweni while herding his sheep.

"The old man lived a long and difficult life, but it was that difficulty that brought us freedom. Now it's time for him to rest amongst his people," he said.

"I don't think this village will ever see a person like him again. We are thankful to have called him one of our own," Njokweni said.

In the nearby town of Mthatha, where Mandela went to school and which has a museum dedicated to him, flags are flying at half mast, with posters of him hanging from lamp posts.

A local supermarket displayed a large image of the anti-apartheid icon with the message: "Rest in peace Nelson Mandela. You were a legend, a father and most of all our leader."

Traditional roots

Despite his global icon status and years of isolation at Robben Island prison, Mandela never lost touch with his traditional roots.

Of royal lineage, he once arrived in court during his Rivonia trial decked out in full Xhosa regalia.

Mandela returned after 27 years in prison as a free man to Qunu, where his parents and children are buried in a family graveyard.

President Jacob Zuma announced a 10-day mourning period for Mandela.

His body will lie in state in Pretoria for three days after that before the burial in Qunu on 15 December.

That is the day his villagers say will be the hardest.

- Send us your memories and photos of Nelson Mandela.

- Friends, colleagues, comrades and family of Nelson Mandela are invited to share their memories and tributes, and to light a candle for him, on his profile at Remembered.co.za.

Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  east london
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
8 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

ANCYL: Not voting would be blasphemy

Not voting in the forthcoming elections would be blasphemy, the ANCYL says in a statement commemorating the 50th anniversary of struggle icon Nelson Mandela's Rivonia trial speech.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia C3

The Nokia C3 Features a 2+ Megapixel Camera, A2DP, Bluetooth,...

From R1175.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There may be a break through, either through quiet contemplative time to connect to your deep side or forced on you by...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.