The remains of former South African President, Nelson Mandela was on Sunday laid to rest in a private ceremony.
He was buried at about 12.40pm and the ceremony was attended by about 450 people.
While speaking at the ceremony, President Jacob Zuma said “we did not want to confront the reality of your mortality, Thank you. Thank you for being everything we needed and wanted in a leader during a difficult period in our lives… for building a free South Africa..
As your journey ends today, ours must continue in earnest. One thing we can assure you of today, Tata, as you take your final steps, is that South Africa will continue to rise, we plan to take your vision forward.”
The burial was witnessed by dignitaries from different parts of the world. From Britain came Prince Charles while Monaco’s Prince Albert and former French prime minister Lionel Jospin were also in attendance.
Presidents Jakaya Kikwete and Joyce Banda came from Tanzania and Malawi respectively. Zambia’s first post-colonial president Kenneth Kaunda too was there.
Former president Thabo Mbeki fought unsuccessfully to hold back tears as President Kikwete recalled anecdotes of ANC leaders’ days in exile in Dar-es-Salaam, including how Mandela left behind boots that languished in the capital for three decades after he was jailed by the apartheid regime.
Mandela’s friend and fellow Robben Island prisoner Ahmed Kathrada, described Mandela’s death as the loss of a brother. He said “my life is in a void and I do not know who to turn to.
He was my elder brother. Today, mingled with our grief is the enormous pride that one of us has, during his lifetime and now, in your death, united the people of South Africa and the entire world on a scale never seen in history.”