Mandela’s journey draws to a close

Qunu, South Africa (PANA) - An estimated 5,000 mourners and a global television audience of hundreds of millions are watching former South African president Nelson Mandela’s extraordinary journey draw to a close on Sunday.

In a giant marquee in the foothills of the Eastern Cape, where he was raised shortly after the First World War, the world is paying homage to South Africa’s first democratically-elected leader, to Africa’s greatest son and to the world’s moral beacon.

“We cast our eye collectively back on an unprecedented week of outpouring of our river of tears. He leaves us with a new Constitution, a set of laws, institutions, policies, a developing human rights ethos, a developing culture of transparency, mutual respect and democracy,” said African National Congress official Baleka Mbete who addressed the audience.

Mbete acknowledged Mandela's love of children while introducing a recording of a children's choir singing in honour of him.

"Children were so much part of his soul, especially in the last few days when he could spend more time with them," Mbete said.

Mandela's widow Graca Machel and ex-wife Winnie-Madikizela Mandela are among the dignitaries who included talk show host Oprah Winfrey, US civil rights leader Jesse Jackson and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

Tutu had earlier said he would not attend the funeral because he had not been invited, but government pointed out that nobody was invited and the clergyman had been accredited.

The week-long observances will culminate later on Sunday when Mandela will be buried at a private ceremony at his family home nearby.

After a long battle with a recurring lung infection, Mandela died 5 Dec. in Johannesburg at the age of 95.
-0- PANA CU/SEG/MA 15Dec2013

15 december 2013 07:19:29




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