‘Mandela was a strict, fun grandfather’

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A screengrab taken from the SABC live feed shows Ndaba Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela, during the funeral service Nelson Mandela in Qunu. Photo: AFP/SABC

Qunu -

It was through former president Nelson Mandela that the world learned the spirit of endurance and forgiveness, read an obituary delivered at his state funeral in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape on Sunday.

“It is through Mandela that the world cast its eyes on South Africa and took notice of the severe and organised repression of black South Africans,” his grandson Ndaba Mandela said, reading the obituary to mourners.

The obituary was contained in the programme distributed to mourners.

Guests followed along in the programme as the young Mandela, statuesque like his grandfather and who speaks in a similar low tone, read through the account of his elder's life.

At times, he used a tissue and sniffed while speaking.

“Yet, it was also through Mandela that the world would learn the spirit of endurance, the triumph of forgiveness and the beauty of reconciliation. Indeed, the story of Nelson Mandela is so much the story of South Africa.”

In a life that symbolised the triumph of the human spirit, Mandela and former president FW de Klerk accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 on behalf of all South Africans who had suffered and sacrificed so much to bring peace to South Africa.

“The world icon worked tirelessly even after the achievement of democracy in South Africa to continue improving lives,” Mandela read.

“Even as he retired from politics, his attention shifted to social issues such as HIV and Aids and the well-being of the nation's children.”

As a testimony to his sharp political intellect, wisdom, and unrelenting commitment to make the world a better place, Mandela had formed the Elders group who, with other prominent world leaders, used their collective influence and experience to support peace and promote the shared interests of humanity.

Mandela’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are proud of him, his grandchild Nandi Mandela said on Sunday.

“We are proud of his achievements and we want to make him proud,” she said at Mandela's state funeral.

“He was a true leader.”

Nandi Mandela said Mandela had truly cared for his family, and had ensured that he provided for even his extended family.

Mandela was a strict grandfather, she said.

“He was a disciplinarian who prepared us to be better people in our lives with or without him,” she said.

“He was driven by common decency.”

She said her grandfather was a lot of fun to be around, was a great story teller and had a great sense of humour.

She recalled stories he had told his family about his childhood.

“He laughed heartily as he reminisced about his childhood days.

She recalled a story she and the other grandchildren heard from Mandela. He told them he was embarrassed when he went to dinner at the house of the family of a girl he was trying to impress. He could not use a knife and fork, and the chicken kept jumping off his plate.

"People always talk about his achievements, but he was a lot of fun to be around and he was a great storyteller," she said.

"He had a great sense of humour. Last year, we missed hearing his voice."

She said Mandela always did good, which in turn inspired everyone around him to do good, even his family.

"We are proud of his achievements and we want to make him proud."

Mandela should send greetings to their ancestors, she said.

“We shall miss your voice, we shall miss your laughter,” Nandi said. - Sapa

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