Mandela’s burial underway

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iol news pic Mandela funeral 56

AFP

The coffin of Nelson Mandela leaves the makeshift tent in Qunu. Photo: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP

Qunu - The coffin of former president Nelson Mandela was laid over his grave in Qunu, Eastern Cape, on Sunday.

The South African flag that was draped over the coffin was folded by several soldiers.

A prayer was made at the graveside.

A slow-marching army procession escorted the coffin before the gun carriage came to a halt and the straps securing coffin were removed.

Soldiers tilted the coffin slightly and gently eased it off of the gun carriage.

It was then take up by eight military pall bearers, who pushed the coffin on a trolley towards the grave site, as muffled drums played in the background.

The coffin laid at the burial site, flanked by banks of white flowers.

After the funeral service in a large marquee, members of the armed forces, acting as pallbearers, and clergy from the Christian churches of South Africa accompanied the body as it was taken to the gravesite.

Members of the army and other armed services lined the road while Mandela's body was led there by a military procession, as planes flew overhead.

Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel, President Jacob Zuma's spokesman Mac Maharaj, Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus and traditional leaders were among those in the procession.

Of the over 4 000 people who attended the service, only 450 were to be allowed to attend the burial of South Africa's first democratic president. - Sapa


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