Mandela cortege leaves airport

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MandelaMthatha Airport


Former South African President Nelson Mandela's flag-draped coffin arrives at the Mthata airport as family members look on, in the Eastern Cape province, 900 km (559 miles) south of Johannesburg, for a funeral on Sunday at his ancestral home in Qunu, December 14, 2013.

Mthatha - A military helicopter took off from Mthatha Airport shortly before the cortege bearing the coffin of former president Nelson Mandela began its journey to Qunu on Saturday afternoon.

Members of Mandela's family got into cars and left the airport before the procession left.

The cortege set off from the airport shortly before 2.30pm, with soldiers on motorcycles leading the way.

On the corner of York Road and Nelson Mandela Drive, Mthatha, more marshals were recruited from the crowd to help keep the public off the road the cortege would take.

A police car drove up the road and was greeted with cheers from those who had lined the streets.

The plane carrying Mandela's coffin left Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria shortly before noon.

Mandela will be buried in Qunu, where he spent much of his childhood, on Sunday.

He died at his Houghton, Johannesburg, home at the age of 95 last Thursday. - Sapa

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