Final goodbye: Mandela’s farewell in ancestral home

by: The Voice Online
published: 15 December 2013

Nelson Mandela’s state funeral is under way at his ancestral home in Qunu, ending a week of commemorations for the anti-apartheid hero. Thousands of people – including foreign dignitaries – are attending the service, which blends state ceremonial with traditional rituals.

Members of his family attended an overnight vigil, with a traditional praise singer believed to be chanting details of his long journey and life.

In a markedly more serious ceremony than the memorial service on Tuesday (Dec 10), choral music rang out and somber speeches spoke about Mandela’s impact on South Africans and the rest of the world. The occasion combined military pomp with his clan’s traditions.

“Millions of people around the world have had their own Madiba moment,” Cyril Ramaphosa, activist, trade union leader and politician said during the ceremony, referring to Mandela by his clan name.

A close friend, Ahmed Kathrada, told the service he had lost an “elder brother” who was with him for many years in prison on Robben island.

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