Helicopters trail flags as 'icon' is laid to rest

Nelson Mandela was honoured with a fly-past by helicopters and military jets as he was buried in the village he loved.

Loading Comments
Share
Print
  • South Africa mourned Nelson Mandela as he was buried in Qunu
    South Africa mourned Nelson Mandela as he was buried in Qunu
  • South Africa mourned Nelson Mandela as he was buried in Qunu
  • South Africa mourned Nelson Mandela as he was buried in Qunu
  • South Africa mourned Nelson Mandela as he was buried in Qunu
  • South Africa mourned Nelson Mandela as he was buried in Qunu
  • South Africa mourned Nelson Mandela as he was buried in Qunu
  • South Africa mourned Nelson Mandela as he was buried in Qunu
  • South Africa mourned Nelson Mandela as he was buried in Qunu
  • South Africa mourned Nelson Mandela as he was buried in Qunu
  • South Africa mourned Nelson Mandela as he was buried in Qunu
  • South Africa mourned Nelson Mandela as he was buried in Qunu
  • South Africa mourned Nelson Mandela as he was buried in Qunu
  • South Africa mourned Nelson Mandela as he was buried in Qunu
  • South Africa mourned Nelson Mandela as he was buried in Qunu
  • South Africa mourned Nelson Mandela as he was buried in Qunu
  • South Africa mourned Nelson Mandela as he was buried in Qunu
  • South Africa mourned Nelson Mandela as he was buried in Qunu

Mr Mandela's casket was lowered into the earth after military pallbearers carried it to the family grave site in the hills of Qunu, the rural village in eastern South Africa that was the childhood home of the anti-apartheid leader, who became the country's first democratically elected president.

Three helicopters trailing South African flags then flew over the scene, followed by six jets.

South African television showed the casket at the family grave site, but the broadcasting was stopped just before the coffin was buried at the request of Mr Mandela's family.

It was South Africa's final goodbye to the man who reconciled the country in its most volatile period.

Several hundred people attended the burial.

Earlier, more than 4000, some singing and dancing, gathered for a funeral service in a huge tent at the family compound of Mr Mandela, who died on December 5, aged 95, after a long illness. They sang the national anthem in an emotional rendition in which some mourners placed fists over their chests.

Mr Mandela's portrait looked over the assembly in the white tent from behind a bank of 95 candles representing each year of his life.

His casket, transported to the tent on a gun carriage and draped in the national flag, rested on a carpet of cow skins below a lectern where speakers delivered eulogies.

Chief Ngangomhlaba Matanzima, a representative of Mr Mandela's family who wore an animal skin, said: "A great tree has fallen, he is now going home to rest with his forefathers. We thank them for lending us such an icon."

While the service took place, a 21-gun salute sounded far away in Pretoria.

The tent ceremony was broadcast on big screens in the area, including at one spot on a hill overlooking Mr Mandela's property.

Several hundred people gathered there, some wearing the black, yellow and green colours of the African National Congress - the liberation movement-turned political party that Mr Mandela had led - and occasionally breaking into song.

Nandi Mandela said her grandfather went barefoot to school in Qunu when he was a boy and that eventually he became president and a figure of global import.

In the Xhosa language, she referred to her grandfather by his clan name: "Go well, Madiba. Go well to the land of our ancestors, you have run your race."

Ahmed Kathrada, an anti-apartheid activist who was jailed on Robben Island with Mr Mandela, remembered his old friend's "abundant reserves" of love, patience and tolerance.

He said it was painful when he saw Mr Mandela for the last time, months ago in his hospital bed.

He said: "He tightly held my hand, it was profoundly heartbreaking.

"How I wish I never had to confront what I saw. I first met him 67 years ago and I recall the tall, healthy strong man, the boxer, the prisoner who easily wielded the pick and shovel when we couldn't do so."

Some mourners wiped away tears as Mr Kathrada spoke, his voice trembling with emotion.

Mr Mandela's widow, Graca Machel, and his second wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, were dressed in black Xhosa headwraps and dresses.

Guests included veterans of the military wing of the African National Congress.

The Prince Of Wales, Monaco's Prince Albert II, American television personality Oprah Winfrey, businessman Richard Branson and ex-Zimbabwean prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai were also there.

South African honour guards from the army, navy and air force marched in formation amid rolling green hills dotted with small dwellings and neatly demarcated plots of farmland.

The burial ended 10 days of mourning ceremonies that included a massive stadium memorial in Johannesburg and three days during which Mr Mandela's body lay in state in the capital, Pretoria.

Mr Mandela spent 27 years in jail as a prisoner from apartheid, then emerged to lead a delicate transition to democracy when many South Africans feared the country would sink into all-out racial conflict.

He became president in the first all-race elections in 1994.

stef.lach@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Families

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on Evening Times on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

145492

Have you got a story?

Contact the news desk on 0141 302 6520 or email news@eveningtimes.co.uk
                A weekly round up of social highlights                
                               

A weekly round up of social highlights

                               

Cat's Eyes on Glasgow

                               

Why the Harlem Globetrotters weren't so slam dunking and making a boob at Debenhams

               
Free swim at a Glasgow Club pool for every reader - Click here

Entertainment

Lifestyle

Wedding
Gail’s Gab

Gail’s Gab

Gail Sheridan is a mother-of-one and wife to Tommy and she likes to get political with the hot topic of the week in her column Gail’s Gab.

            Michelle McManus            
                       

Michelle McManus

                       

Sussed in the City

                       

Why women are better at spotting so called 'bluff' when it comes to the independence debate.

           
Janice Bell

Janice Bell

You couldn’t make up half the stuff that happens to PA Janice Bell- some of the jams she gets herself into are worth a story or two.