Song and dance at Mandela's state funeral

2013-12-15 07:42
This cover of the Beijing Times attests to Nelson Mandela's global appeal. (Wang Zhao, AFP)

This cover of the Beijing Times attests to Nelson Mandela's global appeal. (Wang Zhao, AFP)

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Johannesburg - Guests stood, sang and danced shortly before the state funeral of former president Nelson Mandela at a specially constructed dome in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, on Sunday.

ANC Women's League members wearing their customary green dresses were the first to begin singing. Other people then began blowing whistles before standing up and dancing.

African National Congress stalwart Ahmed Kathrada, who was imprisoned with Mandela, former human settlements minister Tokyo Sexwale, and ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa were present, as was former president Thabo Mbeki and a host of Cabinet ministers.

Also attending were Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai and SA Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus.

US civil rights activist Jesse Jackson and US ambassador Patrick Gaspard took their seats, alongside businessman Patrice Motsepe.

Inside the dome, purple chairs were placed in front of a stage lined with two rows of candles and a portrait of Mandela.

Black seats were designated for international delegates and special guests.

About 5000 people were expected to attend the funeral in Mandela's home village, where he spent much of his childhood.

After the state funeral, the AbaThembu will receive the body to bury it according to royal protocol.

Mandela will be buried next to his relatives at the family gravesite in a private and more intimate ceremony.

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

Nelson Mandela will be laid to rest in Qunu. Say your final farewell and be published on News24 by e-mailing or uploading.

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