Xhosa leaves some funeral guests lost

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Britain's Prince Charlesarrives at the funeral ceremony of Nelson Mandela in Qunu. Photo: ODD ANDERSEN

Qunu - Some international guests were left intrigued, but confused during an address by a chief speaking in Xhosa at the state funeral of former president Nelson Mandela in Qunu on Sunday.

Britain's Prince Charles, an official sitting next to him, and the former Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg watched with interest, but incomprehension.

Chief Ngangomhlaba Matanzima spoke on behalf of the Mandela family. The speech was not translated for foreign guests gathered at the rural, predominantly Xhosa-speaking area in the Eastern Cape for the funeral.

Earlier Methodist church general secretary Vuyani Nyobole opened the funeral with a reference to the parable of the talents from the Bible.

"We praise and thank you, Oh God, for Tata Nelson Mandela... his courage to endure suffering," he told mourners in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape.

He called for the singing of a hymn from the Methodist hymnal that he said "nurtured Tata Mandela", and had been a favourite of Mandela's mother.

The parable, from the Gospel of Matthew, deals with a man who, on leaving to travel, entrusts his property to three servants. - Sapa

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