Nelson Mandela Laid To Rest In Qunu
Nelson Mandela was buried on the hills in Qunu, his childhood hometown, on Sunday (Dec. 15). The funeral marked the end of 10 days of mourning for South Africa after Madiba’s passing on Dec. 5 at the age of 95.
Dignitaries and presidents from around the world made their way to South Africa to pay tribute to Mandela in the week after his death. Obama, along with both former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush attended the memorial for the freedom-fighter-turned-president at the FNB Stadium in the Johannesburg, South Africa on Dec. 10. They were there alongside French President Francois Hollande, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, India’s President Pranab Mukherjee and several others paying their respects.
For the following three days, Mandela’s casket was transported from the mortuary to the Union Building in Pretoria for public viewing. Thousands of South African civilians lined up to see Mandela’s casket, and were even bused in.
While Mandela’s memorial service drew hundreds of thousands, his funeral in rural east South Africa was smaller with some 4,500 people in attendance. Mandela family members, including his ex-wife Winnie and widow Graca Machel, and South African President Jacob Zuma were among the mourners, as were Oprah Winfrey, Prince Charles and business mogul Richard Branson.
A service in a tent was held at the family compound where people wept, sang and danced in celebration of Mandela’s life, before continuing on to the burial site. A military parade brought Mandela’s body on a gun carriage from the family home to the funeral. Planes flew over the burial site as did three helicopters flying the South African flag. Media was not allowed near the funeral during the lowering of the casket.
“We shall not say goodbye, for you are not gone,” said President Zuma. “You’ll live forever in our hearts and minds.”