ZULU “warriors” bid farewell to Nelson Mandela with a traditional dance to the delight of locals and visitors at one of the big-screen viewing areas at Qunu yesterday. The group of young men, called Insizwa Zombimbi (Alliance), are from rural areas of Pietermaritzburg and Durban under the jurisdiction of six traditional leaders. They left their homes in four buses on Saturday night and arrived in Mthatha yesterday morning. Although there were road closures in parts of Mthatha, the “warriors” were allowed to pass through the town. On their arrival, they emerged from the buses in traditional attire brandishing their shields and knobkerries, minus spears, as Brigadier Bantu Holomisa made a vote of thanks on behalf of the Mandela family before Madiba’s body was taken to the burial site. They made rows of “regiments” singing war-like songs and other songs in honour of Mandela as they approached the tents and then gathered on the grass field dancing, to the delight of the locals and visitors. One of the group leaders, Sibusiso Ngcobo, said they had decided there was no other way to bid farewell to Madiba other than setting foot in his childhood village. “We are here to bid farewell to Madiba. We are subjects of different chiefs and belong to different political parties,” Ngcobo said. “We are here to thank him for preaching peace as he promoted peaceful co-existence among political parties in KZN. “Insiza Zombimbi were formed in response to the call from Madiba. There used to be fights and gunfire in our communities but now that is now in the past,” Ngcobo said. Ngcobo was relieved that he had personally paid his last respects. “I will sleep comfortably knowing that I have set foot here in the place of Madiba,” he added. Sandile Mlaba, another “warrior” from KwaXimba near Durban, said they were devastated by the death of Mandela whom they held in high regard. Meanwhile, the Zulu monarch, King Goodwil Zwelithini, was represented by a royal delegation led by Prince Mbonisi Zulu since he does not attend funerals in terms of cultural beliefs. The royal family donated 10 cattle to the Mandela family towards the feeding of the mourners, said spokesperson Prince Thulani Zulu.