Mandela family marks end of mourning period

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Nelson Mandela was a leader of substance, he did not need pamphlets in newspapers to show that he was a leader that built a better South Africa. He showed by doing, says the writer. File picture: Mike Hutchings

Johannesburg - The family of former president Nelson Mandela were expected in Qunu in the Eastern Cape to mark the end of the mourning period, the SABC reported on Saturday.

The mourning period would end on Sunday, six months after Mandela was buried in Qunu on December 15, according to the national broadcaster.

Since Mandela's death, his wife Graca Machel and ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela have been wearing black and have not been allowed to make public appearances as a sign of mourning.

A cleansing ceremony will be performed in Qunu on Sunday where traditional beet and meat would be prepared for the family.

The elders of the Mandela family will then address other family members as a sign of appreciation, the SABC reported.

According to Xhosa tradition, the mourning period takes 12 months as a sign of respect for the dead.

But in Mandela's case, it was reportedly agreed to shorten the mourning period to six months.

The performance of rituals to mark the end of the mourning period would begin at 9am.

AbaThembu royal family spokesman Daludumo Mtirara told the SABC only immediate family members would be allowed to observe the performance of the rituals.

Mandela died in Johannesburg on December 5, 2013. - Sapa


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