ANC says goodbye to Nelson Mandela ahead of state funeral
Madiba's party said farewell in the country's capital
Nelson Mandela's body was flown on Saturday to South Africa's Eastern Cape region, headed for a state funeral on Sunday after a ceremony by the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
With revolutionary songs and tributes to “Comrade Mandela”, the former liberation movement to which Mandela had dedicated his life said farewell at the Waterkloof airforce base in the capital of Pretoria.
“Go well 'Tata', you have played your part,” South African President and ANC leader Jacob Zuma said in a eulogy, using the Xhosa word for “father”.
He recalled Mandela's life as a freedom fighter in the armed struggle against apartheid, for which he was jailed for 27 years.
The ANC service led by Zuma was attended by Mandela's widow Graca Machel and his former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Grandson Mandla Mandela thanked those who had come to pay their respects to the Nobel peace laureate.
"I have witnessed his army, I have witnessed his people, I have witnessed ordinary South Africans who walked this long walk to freedom with him and I can assure the African National Congress today that the future of this country looks bright," he said.
The ceremony followed nine days of intense and emotionally charged mourning and memorial activities held in Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Mandela lay in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria from Wednesday to Friday. More than 100,000 people queued for hours to say a last personal goodbye to the nation's first black president.
Escorted by fighter jets, Mandela's body was flown by South Africa's airforce to his Eastern Cape home region, where it would be taken to the family home at Qunu.
As the eldest male descendant of Mandela, Mandla has been given the task of accompanying his grandfather’s body each time it is moved. The ritual is performed to ensure the body’s spirit does not wander.
There, a state funeral will take place on Sunday combining military pomp and traditional rites of Mandela's Xhosa abaThembu clan. It will be attended by family members, national leaders and foreign guests including Prince Charles and US civil rights activist Reverend Jessie Jackson.
Nobel Peace Prize winner and retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a longtime friend of Nelson Mandela won't be attending Mandela's funeral because he did not receive the credentials to do so, said his spokeswoman.
“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.
Sunday's funeral, planned to be more intimate than the mass memorial held on Tuesday attended by a host of world leaders, will bring together members of Mandela's family and Xhosa abaThembu clan, and a smaller group of dignitaries.
- 3 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
- 4 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
- 5 SAG Awards: Fake applause track interrupts Reese Witherspoon
Rowan Atkinson to sell £10 million McLaren 'supercar' he crashed into a tree and a lamppost
Paris attacks: Do not call Charlie Hebdo killers 'terrorists', BBC says
Asteroid narrowly scrapes past Earth: how to watch the closest space rock for decades as it flies by
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: On behalf of a successful academy i...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in providing ...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: WEST LONDON - An excellent new opportunity wit...
£8 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A Florist Shop Manager is required to m...