Friday 26 December 2014

Mandela's body flown to home village ahead of funeral

Published 14/12/2013 | 13:13

Nelson Mandela's grandson Mandla Mandela, left, watches as the casket of former South African President Nelson Mandela is taken out of a hearse following a farewell ceremony by the African National Congress at  Waterkloof Air Base on the outskirts of Pretoria, South Africa, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. The remains of Nelson Mandela were being transferred amid pomp and ceremony to his home village for burial the next day. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Nelson Mandela's grandson Mandla Mandela, left, watches as the casket of former South African President Nelson Mandela is taken out of a hearse following a farewell ceremony by the African National Congress at Waterkloof Air Base on the outskirts of Pretoria, South Africa, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. The remains of Nelson Mandela were being transferred amid pomp and ceremony to his home village for burial the next day. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
People sing and dance after an aircraft carrying the casket of former South African President Nelson Mandela took off from Waterkloof Air Base on the outskirts of Pretoria, South Africa, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. On a final journey to his home village where he had wanted to spend his final days, the remains of Nelson Mandela were honored amid pomp and ceremony Saturday at an air base in South Africa's capital before being loaded onto a plane. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
South African President Jacob Zuma sits between Nelson Mandelas widow Graca Machel and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, right, Nelson Mandela's former wife, during a farewell ceremony for former South African president Nelson Mandela by the African National Congress at Waterkloof Air Base on the outskirts of Pretoria, South Africa, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Former South African President Nelson Mandelas widow Graca Machel, left arrives at Mthatha Airport in Mthatha, South Africa, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. Funeral service for Nelson Mandela will be held in his home town of Qunu on Sunday. (AP Photo/Kopano_Tlape, CGIS)

Tributes have been paid to Nelson Mandela during a ceremony at an air base in the capital of South Africa ahead of his funeral on Sunday.

After the ceremony, his remains were taken on board a military plane and flown to his home village.

At the airport near his home village in Qunu there was a buzz of activity, with military vehicles driving around as anticipation built over the arrival of South Africa's most famous figure.

Residents and people who had travelled for hours thronged a road leading to Qunu, singing and dancing as Mandela T-shirts were handed out.

"We got up this morning at 2am and drove from Port Elizabeth - it's about seven hours - and we got here now. We're waiting to show our last respects to Madiba," said Ebrahim Jeftha, using Mandela's clan name.

Mr Mandela had been imprisoned for 27 years for opposing racist apartheid and emerged in 1990 to forge a new democratic South Africa by promoting forgiveness and reconciliation. He became president in 1994 after South Africa's first all-race democratic elections.

FILE - In this March 23, 1999 file photo, South African President Nelson Mandela, left, and American pop singer Michael Jackson arrive at a news conference in Cape Town, South Africa, where Jackson announced dates for two concerts with profits to go to various funds including the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.   South Africa's president Jacob Zuma says, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, that Mandela has died. He was 95.  (AP Photo/Obed Zilwa, File)
1999 Mandela and Michael Jackson arrive at a news conference in Cape Town, where Jackson announced dates for two concerts with profits to go to various funds including the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.
March 17, 1997, South African President Nelson Mandela, shows the way to Britain's Princess Diana in Cape Town, South Africa, where they discussed the threat of AIDS in the country.
Popstar Beyoncé posted this photo to her Instagram account after learning of the death of Nelson Mandela. 'Thank you for all you have sacrificed to improve the lives of other human beings. Rest in peace," she wrote.
May 19, 1998, Cuban leader Fidel Castro,shares a laugh with South Africa President Nelson Mandela at a meeting of the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.
1993, Roy Keane meeting Nelson Mandela while on a pre-season tour of South Africa with Manchester United.
Nov. 28, 2003, Nelson Mandela with U.S. singer Beyonce Knowles and British singer Annie Lennox on Robben Island in Cape Town, South Africa. The singers were in town to perform at the Nelson Mandela 46664 AIDS Awareness concert.
May 21, 2003, Nelson Mandela chats with England's soccer captain David Beckham at the Nelson Mandela Foundation office in Johannesburg.
South African President Nelson Mandela guides Pope John Paul II after they met at Johannesburg International Airport, at the start of the pope's first official visit to the country, in this file picture taken September 16, 1995.
31 May 1998, Nelson Mandela, flanked by Spice Girls at the presidential residence Mahlamba Nalopfu in Pretoria, South Africa.
July 20, 1996. South African President Nelson Mandela and U.S. pop star Michael Jackson hug each other at the president's official home in Cape Town.
29 August 2007 of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Former South African President Nelson Mandela applauding performers during a statue unveiling ceremony in Nelson Mandela's honour at Parliament Square, London.
27 October 1995, Nelson Mandela shaking hands with England's Mike Atherton during a drinks interval in their match against Invitation XI in Soweto.
16 June 1998 of South African President Nelson Mandela greeting Irish Taoiseach Bertie Aherne at the Euro Summit in Cardiff.
August 6, 2012, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Nelson Mandela, 94, former president of South Africa, at his home in Qunu, South Africa.
10 August 1996 Prime Minister John Major meeting President Nelson Mandela at Downing Street.
29 June 2008, Former South African President Nelson Mandela speaking with Conservative Party leader David Cameron at The Dorchester in central London.
April 2009, Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay meets Nelson Mandela during a lunch to Benefit the Mandela Children's Foundation.
11/04/2000 President Mary McAleese with former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela, during a meeting at the Presidents Palace in Dublin.
27 August 2008,Nelson Mandela joined on stage by his guests during the 46664 concert honouring Nelson Mandela's ninetieth birthday in Hyde Park, London.
25 April 1991 Nelson Mandela enjoying his first look at his wax work model at Madame Tussauds, London.
October 31, 2004, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is pictured meeting with Nelson Mandela the former leader of South Africa.
02 August 2003, former US President Bill Clinton and former South African President Nelson Mandela, during a gala night to mark the centenary of the Rhodes Trust and the establishment of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, at Westminster.
28 June 2000, Nelson Mandela waving to delegates flanked by Prime Minister Tony Blair at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton.
9 August 1996, Nelson Mandela, accompanied by his daughter Princess Zenani Mandela-Dlamini, standing with The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace before a state banquet in the president's honour.
February 1, 2002 Britain's Prince Charles shares a light moment with Nelson Mandela during a show at the Amsterdam arena.
December 6, 2002, Nelson Mandela poses with television personality Oprah Winfrey in Henley, Johannesburg.
May 25, 2002, Former South African President Nelson Mandela and Bono pose together after meeting at Mandela's residence at Houghton in Johannesburg.
March 11, 1997, South African President Nelson Mandela shares a joke with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates after their meeting at Mandela's residence in Cape Town.
February 29, 2008, France's President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy pose with former South African President Nelson Mandela during their visit to the Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg.
July 2, 2003, Nelson Mandela is assisted by Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair and former U.S. president Bill Clinton after attending a Gala night in Westminster Hall, London.
March 24, 1995, President Nelson Mandela and Brazilian Sport Minister and former soccer player Pele smile for photographers at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
June 15, 1990, Pope John Paul II, shakes hands with Nelson Mandela, deputy leader of African National Congress, during a private audience at the Vatican.

Soldiers in full gear were stationed on foot on either side of the road from the airport in Mthatha. Some civilians were also already lining the route, shielding themselves from the sun with umbrellas.

Mr Mandela had longed to spend his final months in his beloved rural village but instead he had spent them in a hospital in Pretoria and then in his home in Johannesburg where he had remained in a critical condition, suffering from lung problems and other ailments, until his death.

Bono is greeted by George W Bush at the memorial in Soweto.
President Barack Obama greets Cuban President Raul Castro.
In this image from TV, supermodel Naomi Campbell, left, arrives at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, South Africa, ahead of a memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela, Tuesday Dec. 10, 2013.
Retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu and musician Bono wave to mourners during the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013.
Cuban President Raul Castro, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Andrew Mlangeni listen as United States President Barack Obama speaks during the official memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela.
Mary Robinson and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu arrive for the official memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Actress Charlize Theron waits with Bono for the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013.
President Barack Obama greets Cuban President Raul Castro and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff during the official memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
U.S. President Barack Obamagreets former South African President F.W. de Klerk during the official memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Bono and his wife Ali Hewson attend the official memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
People embrace as they arrive at Ellis Park to watch a telecast of the Nelson Mandela memorial service on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. O
Members of the public sing and dance inside the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Members of the public sing and dance inside the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Members of the public sing and dance inside the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Members of the public sing and dance as they arrive for the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Members of the public sing and dance as they arrive for the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
A woman and a girl embrace to keep warm as they await the Nelson Mandela memorial service to begin at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Members of the public walk towards the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
A woman waits for the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
People arrive at Ellis Park to watch a telecast of the Nelson Mandela memorial service on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
People arrive at Ellis Park to watch a telecast of the Nelson Mandela memorial service on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Members of the public sing and dance inside the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela.
Members of the public walk towards the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Members of the public walk towards the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Members of the public sing and dance inside the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
British prime minister David Cameron is interviewed by media prior to the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Members of the public walk towards the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
People arrive at Ellis Park to watch a telecast of the Nelson Mandela memorial service on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
People sing as they arrive at Ellis Park to watch a telecast of the Nelson Mandela memorial service on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Members of the public walk towards the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Members of the public arrive to attend the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
People sing and hold a South African flag as they arrive at Ellis Park to watch a telecast of the Nelson Mandela memorial service on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
People arrive at Ellis Park to watch a telecast of the Nelson Mandela memorial service on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa.

There was a surprise announcement in the plans for Sunday's funeral in Mr Mandela's home village of Qunu as retired archbishop Desmond Tutu's family said he would not be attending because he had not received credentials as a clergyman.

"The archbishop is not an accredited clergyperson for the event and thus will not be attending," Rev Mpho Tutu, the archbishop's daughter, said in a statement. She is chief executive of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Foundation.

A spokesman for Mr Tutu refused to elaborate and said he himself would not be commenting. Mr Tutu, who like Mr Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for resisting apartheid, has been an occasional critic of the current government.

Mac Maharaj, a spokesman for the presidency, said Mr Tutu is on the guest list and that he hopes Mr Tutu will attend. He said he was surprised by the statement and was looking into it for possible solutions.

"This is not an event where you need credentials and I hope a solution can be found," he said. "He's an important person and I hope ways can be found for him to be there."

Milly Viljoen, 43, drove 12 hours through the night with a friend to stand on the roadside overlooking Mandela's compound in Qunu.

"'It's befitting to see him to his final resting place," she said.

 

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