A nation unites to bid farewell to Mandela - CNBC Africa

A nation unites to bid farewell to Mandela


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ANC supporters wait for President Nelson Mandela?s motorcade to pass by during an election campaign on April 13, 1994 in Durban, South Africa. PHOTO: Getty Images

South Africa’s former statesman will be buried at his birthplace in Qunu which is the Eastern Cape Province on 15 December.

Current President Jacob Zuma’s office announced that the official memorial service will be held on 10 December at FNB stadium in Johannesburg.


The state also said the public will be given an opportunity to pay their last respects to former President Mandela.

Fondly known as Madiba, his remains will lie in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria between 11 and 13 December. According to Zuma’s office, members of the public will be allowed to file past former President Mandela’s mortal remains. However, no photography or video footage will be allowed.

“The file past will proceed in a dignified and orderly manner to ensure that as many people as possible have an opportunity to pay their respects,” the Presidency said in a statement. “The security forces will control access to the Union Buildings and facilitate the file past process. They will also ensure that people cannot file past more than once.”

South African flags at all official buildings will fly at half-mast throughout the period.

Meanwhile, South Africans have taken to the streets to mourn the freedom fighter by visiting various venues around the country. Many people are still laying flowers and cards outside his Johannesburg Houghton home where he died on Thursday night.

Others have travelled from far and near to Soweto’s Vilakazi Street, Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton and his birthplace in Qunu, while others have placed flowers on the infamous Nelson Mandela Bridge in Johannesburg’s city centre.

There are public venues throughout the country that will serve as memorial centres where people will be able to participate in public mourning events.

Books of condolence are being circulated to all municipalities and government departments. The books will also be accessible at diplomatic missions around the world.


Also known as the father of the nation, Mandela’s body will be flown from Air Force Base Waterkloof in Pretoria to his birthplace in Qunu.

“The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will take charge of this leg of the State funeral. A military Guard of Honour will welcome the mortal remains which will be draped in the national flag.” 

According to the statement, upon arrival at Umtata Airport the SANDF contingent will perform the ceremonial removal of the Mortal Remains form the Air Craft. The coffin will be placed on a gun carriage and then transported into a hearse. The defence force will sound the national anthem while the Guard of Honour will Present Arms and salute. The mortal remains will thereafter be transported to the family home in Qunu.

The funeral service at Qunu will conclude the 10 day State funeral period.

“The Mandela family, the President and Cabinet, Heads of State, and other dignitaries will be in attendance. The SANDF will again be charged with draping the coffin. A National Salute will be performed and the National Anthem will be played.”