Madiba's final journey home - as it happened

2013-12-14 13:42

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The body of former president and struggle icon Nelson Mandela left the Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria on Saturday for his home village in Qunu, Eastern Cape aboard the C-130 aircraft.

Mandela who died on 5 December at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg will be buried on Sunday .

The burial ceremony is expected to be attended by 400 dignitaries and will not be televised.

Earlier, Mandela’s coffin was draped in the ANC colours as it was brought in for the handover ceremony from the SA National Defence Force to the ANC.

Speaking during the special and emotional ANC tribute ceremony President Jacob Zuma described Mandela as a man of action and theory.

Zuma praised the global icon for "thinking about policy".

Former president Thabo Mbeki, ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC chairperson Baleka Mbete, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, ANC stalwart Frene Ginwala, and former Ekurhuleni metro police chief Robert McBride were among those present at the airbase, as were US civil rights activist Jesse Jackson and TV personality Dali Tambo.

Dozens of political parties from around the world were also represented at the ceremony.

Mandela's body is expected to be received by members of his family who are said to have already arrived at Mthatha Airport.

17:06 - Seems like everything is quiet in Qunu (relatively, anyway). So we're stopping with updates today but catch us tomorrow (Sunday) morning bright and ealry at about 06:00 for coverage of the funeral. 

16:42 - 

16:37 - Traffic en route to Qunu are being redirected as the road is closed, says Jacaranda News.

16:33 - Challenge to all media any of the "VIP" guests who were at FNB. Ask if they need a new accreditation card for Qunu. Let me know - Clayson Monyela.

16:32 - 

16:16 - Billionaire businessman Richard Branson will be at the funeral, he says.

16:11 -  Now the N2 is properly closed! And I'm not talking about logistical road closures. The Mandela convoy is stuck, says journalist Irvine V Makuyana.

16:06 - 

16:04 - It looks like a beautiful day in Qunu. Some cloud (OK lots of cloud) but lots of sunshine too. A beautiful welcome for Tata Madiba.  

16:04 - 

16:00 - Madiba's body has arrived in Qunu. 

15:58 - 

15:55 - Two military helicopters and a police helicopter are currently flying over the Mandela funeral tent in Qunu. 

15:50 - 

15:48 - The decision to attend or not to is his...but no one has refused him accreditation. Not family nor govt. - Clayson Monyela

15:47 - To allege "snub/"politics" is malicious & factually incorrect. Archbishop is on the guest list & accredited, his presence at FNB is proof, says Clayson Monyela.

15:46 - On the Tutu matter, Clayson Monyela (international relations spokesperson) says: The family decides who gets to perform "official Clergy duties". Not a political party or government.

15:44 - 

15:42 - Love the lone girl standing in the background, waving the flag. 


15:40 - ArchBishop Tutu has been accredited for this State Funeral. The same accreditation he used at memorial service covers Qunu, says international relations spokesperson Clayson Monyela.

15:39 - 

15:28 - Seems as if the motorcade is moving rather fast - locals are unhappy about this.

15:27 - The motorcade carrying Mandela's body just passed the Shell Ultra city in Mthatha... Now heads to Qunu, says Jacaranda News.

15:24 - Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj says he has been "taken aback" by the news that Desmond Tutu was not attending Nelson Mandela's funeral, adding that that he was "definitely" invited.

15:20 - 

15:18 - Now a huge convoy of black and white luxury cars. No one seems to know what to do, tweets New York Times reporter Lydia Polgreen.

15:17 - 

15:17 - Crowds on the street are running after the hearse. 

15:16 - The Mandela family convoy has arrived in Qunu. 

15:11 - 

15:10 - 

15:01 Mandela's motorcade through Mthatha is truly an impressive show of South African force and order - Tweets



  (@Simmoa) December">">December 14, 2013


14:55 So many helicopters above Mthatha - tweets Masibulele Nolucu 

14:54 Crowd getting excited in the Mthatha CBD. Seeing military bikes but not main procession yet - Tweets eNCA

14:14 The hearse carrying Mandela's body leaves Mthatha Airport for Qunu his home village. It's approximately 46km away.

14:13 Winnie Mandela has her arm around widow Graca Machel as they sit at the Mthatha airport tweets KayaNews

14:11 The proceedings at Mthatha airport are the most sobering yet.The moment has finally come - tweets Denis Nabende

14:10 The military band plays the SA anthem.

14:08 Full military honours for Mandela in Mthatha

14:06 SANDF pallbearers have taken Mandela's casket out of the C-130

14:05 There are reports of a dark cloud has covering the Mthatha airport….Rain is approaching.

14:02 Scuffle in Mthatha, police quick to quell it, seems to be because of free t-shirts - tweets Bongile mogale

14:00 The plane arrived at least 20 minutes earlier than it was scheduled.  

13:59 Guard of honour formed at Airport to receive Nelson Mandela's body"



13:54 Security remains very tight 

13:51 Gwede Manstashe is one of the governmental officials who will be recieving Mandela's body.

13:40 Mandela plane has just touched down in Mthatha airport - tweets Milton Nkosi

13:36 Nelson Mandela has returned home to the Eastern Cape. Are you in Mthatha or Qunu? Share your photos with us, by e-mailing or uploading

13:31 Groups of people from different villages along the N2 that connects Mthatha and Qunu have lined up alongside the road. Waiting for Mandela - tweets Alex Mitchley.



13:14 Activity definitely on the increase here, cars rushing up and down, blue lights, lots of flashy cars - Tweets Amanda Watson.

13:12 View a gallery of some of the leaders expected to be at the funeral service in Quni here.


Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula will also be there to receive Mandela’s body.


Read more on:    nelson mandela

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X 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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


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 network.


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.