Nelson Mandela laid to rest

Published 15 December 2013

South Africa and the world bade its final farewell to global statesman Nelson Mandela at his funeral today.

Mandela, who died on 5 December aged 95, was laid to rest in Qunu, the rural village where he grew up.

The funeral was attended by heads of state and government, as well as family and close friends of Mandela, South Africa's first black president and anti-Apartheid hero.

Instead of the boos at Tuesday's memorial service in Johannesburg, South African President Jacob Zuma was welcomed to the podium with cheers.

He spoke of his gratitude for Mandela's life and urged South Africa to follow his example.

"We wish today to express two simple words: thank you," he said.

"Thank you for being everything that we wanted and needed in a leader during a difficult time in our lives. Whilst the long walk to freedom has ended in the physical sense our own journey continues."

He continued: "We pledge today to continue promoting non-racialism and tolerance in our country and to build a South Africa that truly belongs to all … South Africa will continue to rise because we dare not fail you."

Among those present was Mandela's close friend and anti-Apartheid campaigner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Bishop Ziphozihle Siwa addressed those gathered with reference to Matthew 25 and the Parable of the Talents.
He also made an appeal to South Africans to follow in Mandela's footsteps.

"The best tribute we can pay today is to strive that our lives become both and recipients and transmitters of the light of hope," he said.

The state funeral was followed by a private graveside service attended by family, current and former heads of state, ANC and AU officials, traditional leaders, clergymen, and officials.

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