Nelson Mandela Laid To Rest In South Africa

The former president of South Africa was buried among 450 relatives, political leaders and foreign celebrities in a private ceremony. The state funeral ceremony was attended by 4,500 family, friends and dignitaries.

1. Nelson Mandela, the Nobel peace laureate, was buried at his ancestral home in Qunu on Dec. 15 with a send-off that combined “military pomp with the traditional rites of his Xhosa abaThembu clan,” Reuters reports.

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The coffin is carried on a gun carriage for a traditional burial.

3. Mandela was the nation’s first black president nearly two decades ago, and led the struggle against apartheid.

Handout / Reuters

The coffin carrying former South African President Nelson Mandela is prepared to be buried during his funeral ceremony in Qunu, Eastern Cape.

5. Mandela was 95 when he died on Dec. 5 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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The coffin is carried to the burial site.

7. “The person who is lying here is South Africa’s greatest son,” said Cyril Ramaphosa, deputy leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

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Mandela’s ex-wife Winne Mandela (left) and his widow, Graca Machel (second from right), along with South African President Jacob Zuma attend Mandela’s funeral ceremony.

9. According to Reuters, the coffin was “placed on black and white Nguni cattle skins in front of a crescent of 95 candles, one for each year of Mandela’s life.”

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The coffin is carried by military personnel at the end of the service.

11. A choir also sang Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika, the national anthem adopted after apartheid ended in 1994.

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South African President Jacob Zuma (left) attends the funeral ceremony.

13. “Whilst the long walk to freedom has ended in the physical sense, our own journey continues. We have to continue building the type of society you worked tirelessly to construct. We have to take the legacy forward,” President Zuma said in his eulogy.

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South Africa President Jacob Zuma speaks during the ceremony.

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British entrepreneur Richard Branson (right) sits with Oprah during the ceremony.

16. Oprah, who atttended the service, posted a photo with the leader on Instagram: “Remembering Our Beloved Madiba today and our last walk in his home village. #MandelaFinalFarewell”

18. “Farewell my dear brother, my mentor, my leader,” said Mandela’s lifelong friend and fellow inmate Ahmed Kathrada during the ceremony.

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Military personnel remove the South African national flag from Mandela’s coffin.

20. The casket, draped in the South African flag, was carried to the burial site by military chiefs, followed by Mandela’s grandson and heir, Mandla, and President Zuma.

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Military personnel carry the coffin towards the burial site in Mandela’s ancestral village south of Johannesburg.

Yannis Behrakis / Reuters

Army helicopters carry South African flags over the burial ground.

23. Millions around the country watched the service on television or listened in on the radio, mourning their former leader.

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A man weeps as he watches the funeral service on a large screen television in Cape Town.

Rogan Ward / Reuters

A Zulu man plays a bugle after the service.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

A girl looks on as Mandela’s coffin is taken to the family gravesite for burial.

27. Millions of people in South Africa and around the world are mourning Mandela.

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A mourner sheds a tear as she watches a broadcast of the state funeral at Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

Locals dance the coffin is taken to the family gravesite.

Rogan Ward / Reuters

A Shembe devotee prays as he looks out towards the grave.

Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters

Zulu warriors dance to honor Mandela on a hill above the graveyard within the Mandela family’s property in the village of Qunu.

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