Nelson Mandela: Where will he be buried?

Dec 13, 2013

Former president will be laid to rest next to his relatives in 'modest' Eastern Cape province village

QUNU, the quiet South African village where Nelson Mandela was born and grew up, is set to become a magnet for those wishing to pay their respects to the nation’s first black president.

Mandela will be buried at Qunu on Sunday, 15 December, South Africa's president Jacob Zuma confirmed soon after his death was announced.

The event will be attended by world leaders including President Obama and David Cameron as well as TV personality Oprah Winfrey, who was close to the statesman. Bill and Hilary Clinton are also expected to attend. The Queen will be represented by the Prince of Wales.

Accommodating such high-level dignitaries has cause some resentment in Qunu, where villagers are uncertain whether they will be allowed to attend the funeral, reports [2] the South African Independent Online.

Chief Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa of the Gebe tribe said that the organisers of the funeral were “taking Mandela away from his people” and ignoring Xhosa traditions. “The people from Qunu, the people who made him, have been denied the opportunity to be with him,” he said. 

Until today, Mandela’s body has been lying in state at the Union Buildings, the South African seat of government, in Pretoria. Flags will continue to fly at half-mast until after the state funeral. 

When the official ceremonies are over, Mandela’s remains will be flown to the Eastern Cape, the “hilly rural area” where the former president was born and grew up.

The site of Mandela’s last resting place has been the subject of a bitter court battle involving some of his relatives. Mandla Mandela, Mandela’s official heir, was accused of moving the bodies of three of the former South African president’s children from Qunu to Mvezo, about 12 miles away – reportedly because he wanted his own village to benefit from an influx of Mandela pilgrims. It was alleged he did not consult other family members about the exhumations and a judge ordered him to return the remains to their original graves.

Now that the court battle is over, Mandela will be laid to rest in a place where he spent “some of the happiest years of my boyhood”, according to his memoirs.

If Mandela’s death inspires pilgrims, says The Guardian, they will flock to “this modest village in Eastern Cape province, where chickens scarper at the sound of a car and maize grows ad hoc in the yards.”

The “remoteness and poverty” of the region have ensured that Qunu is “almost as quiet as it was in the 1920s when Mandela was a herd boy, looking after sheep and calves in the fields,” the paper says. There is a museum dedicated to him, one of three in the area, “but this is no Graceland”.

Nelson Mandela: the world mourns a lost hero

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very bored of Nelson Mandela coverage now. Largely BBC Radio 4 who seem to have gone gaga over it.