Nelson Mandela Laid To Rest At A State Funeral
Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president whose long fight against apartheid made him famous worldwide, was laid to rest on Sunday at his humble ancestral home of Qunu, in the Eastern Cape province, AFP reported.
After 10 days of mourning, South Africans said goodbye to their endeared freedom fighter, who despite being jailed for 27-years, came back from prison and preached forgiveness for his oppressors.
Mandela, 95, died on December 5. He was given a 21-gun salute and full military honor guard that escorted his coffin to the marquee where 4500 mourners comprising of presidents, top business persons and celebrities from around the world waited.
His flag-draped casket was placed on cow skins, surrounded by 95 candles – each signifying a year of his extraordinary life.
After the open prayer and tribute session the coffin was lead to a private burial ceremony that was attended by family members, friends and a few dignitaries numbering about 450.
Among the mourners at the private burial ceremony were relatives, political leaders and foreign guests including Britain’s Prince Charles, American civil rights activist Reverend Jesse Jackson, talk show host Oprah Winfrey and Billionaire Richard Branson, Reuters reported.
As the coffin was lowered into the wreath-ringed grave, three army helicopters flew over bearing the South African flag on weighted cables, a poignant echo of the anti-apartheid leader’s inauguration as the nation’s first black president nearly two decades ago.