Share This Page

Mandela's body reaches hometown in rural South Africa

| Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013, 6:39 p.m.
Getty Images
South Africans dance during a celebration on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013, in Mthatha of the life of former President Nelson Mandela while waiting for his funeral cortege to pass by on its way to his home town of Qunu.

QUNU, South Africa — A hearse carrying Nelson Mandela's body drove into his hometown in rural South Africa on Saturday.

As motorcyclists in uniform and armored personnel carriers escorted the vehicle carrying Mandela's casket to the family compound, people lining the route sang, applauded and, in some cases, wept.

The vehicle carrying Mandela's casket, covered with a national flag, arrived at the family compound under cloudy skies at 4 p.m. It was accompanied by an enormous convoy of police, military and other vehicles, and a military helicopter hovered overhead.

According to Xhosa tribal tradition, Mandela was honored as a leader by placing a leopard skin on the coffin, replacing the flag.

“Long live the spirit of Nelson Mandela,” chanted a crowd on a highway near Mandela's compound.

The anti-apartheid hero will be buried on Sunday.

Mandela had longed to spend his final months in his beloved rural village, but instead he had spent them in a hospital in Pretoria and then in his home in Johannesburg where he had remained until his death.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.