Mandela to be buried next to relatives

2013-12-14 16:39
(Photo: file, AFP)

(Photo: file, AFP)

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Johannesburg - Former president Nelson Mandela will be buried next to his relatives in Qunu on Sunday following a state funeral.

Mandela's father Mphakanyiswa Gadla Henry, his mother Noqaphi Nosekeni and his son Magkatho Lewanika Mandela are buried at the family grave site in the Eastern Cape village. It was Mandela's wish to buried next to his family.

President Jacob Zuma announced last week that the struggle icon would be given a state funeral.

About 5 000 people are expected to attend the state funeral, among them Britain's Prince Charles, African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda and US civil rights activist Reverend Jesse Jackson.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who presided over the funerals of other struggle heroes such as Steve Biko, Chris Hani and Walter Sisulu, would not attend the funeral.

On Saturday, Tutu said he had cancelled his flight to the Eastern Cape to attend the funeral after he received no indication that his name was on the guest list.


The government said Tutu should have called if he wanted to attend the funeral because no invites were sent out. However, the archbishop did not call.

Mandela began his final journey home to Qunu on Saturday as an air force plane carrying his casket took off from Pretoria, where tens of thousands of mourners had viewed him lying in state.

His body arrived at the Mthatha airport shortly after 14:00 and some members of the Mandela family, Abathembu chiefs and other dignitaries kept watch as the plane came to a standstill.

Mandela's body was then moved to Qunu.

Members of his family accompanied his remains to the village.

A public vigil would be held on Saturday night at the Walter Sisulu University's Nelson Mandela Drive campus.

After the state funeral has concluded on Sunday, the AbaThembu would receive the body to bury it according to royal protocol.

Mandela died at his Houghton, Johannesburg, home at the age of 95 on 5 December.

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