Mandela attends funeral for great-granddaughter
Friday 18 June 2010
Nelson Mandela made a rare public appearance yesterday to attend the funeral of his great-granddaughter, who died on the eve of the World Cup.
He joined relatives mourning the death of Zenani Mandela, 13, who was killed in a car crash on her way home from an opening concert in Johannesburg.
A clearly frail Mr Mandela, 91, was seen arriving on a golf cart at the Johannesburg school where the private family service was held and being helped by his wife, Graca Machel. He appeared to have difficulty walking.
The death of the teenager, who had just celebrated her 13th birthday, led the former South African president to cancel plans to attend the opening game of a tournament he had successfully lobbied to bring to the country.
Mr Mandela's health is a matter of intense concern in a country which sees him as a symbol of the unlikely reconciliation that followed the end of apartheid. He officially retired from public life after his 90th birthday but has made a handful of public appearances since.
There was anger at the death of one of Mr Mandela's nine great grandchildren but not surprise. South Africa has one of the highest road fatality rates in the world. The vehicle involved in the one-car crash was being driven by a family friend.
School friends and family members arrived in their hundreds at the Johannesburg Methodist chapel yesterday. Condolence messages were read that described her as a "natural born star" who loved music.
A video message from Naomi Campbell was among the tributes, with the model saying she had regarded Zenani as a "god daughter". The two-hour service featured pop songs, hymns and a Maya Angelou poem. The Soweto Gospel Choir performed as guests arrived. Later, the soul classic "Lean on Me" was played.
Zenani's great-grandmother, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, was present, along with a number of political leaders and home-grown and international celebrities.
However, Mr Mandela remained the main focus of the service – it provided a curious public with an increasingly rare opportunity to see the Nobel Peace Prize winner who, despite his apparent fragility, was seen to chat and smile with relatives.
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 3 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
- 4 Why you're almost certainly more like your father than your mother
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...
£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...
£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...