Qunu - Nelson Mandela's ancestral village of Qunu lay quiet on Sunday, while the South African nation reflected on the death of the “father of the nation.”
Many villagers attended church services in the rural area, while others went about their daily chores. Boys herded cattle. A row of military trucks was parked outside the perimeter of Mandela's heavily guarded house, where flowers and messages had piled up along the front wall.
“His legacy will last for centuries to come. His humility towards all humans can never be explained,” a woman from the neighbouring town of Mthatha said, paying her respects.
In the shade outside Qunu's community hall, Mandela's nephew - Silumko Mandela, 66 - said elders from the AbaThembu clan, to which the Mandela's belong, were waiting to be briefed about the funeral arrangements.
“I have very happy memories of Mandela, my uncle. My happiest moment was when he became president and the elderly got pensions for the first time in their lives and the poor received grants,” Mandela told dpa.
About 30 kilometres further south, at Mvezo, the hilly village of Mandela's birth that overlooks the Mbashe river, residents sang hymns in praise of their late leader, while abaThembu chiefs held court nearby to discuss the funeral, rituals and services.
“We have lost the son of the soil. We will continue our prayers until his soul is at peace,” said a village elder after the service.
On Saturday, Qunu residents lit an “eternal flame” at the Mandela museum on a hill overlooking the late stateman's home. - Sapa-dpa