• 18-party alliance declares 72-hour blockade from Tuesday
HOME  MAIN NEWS
  
Print Friendly and PDF

Nelson Mandela laid to rest

Agence France-Presse . Qunu, South Africa

The coffin of former South African President Nelson Mandela is carried by military personnel during his funeral in his ancestral village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape province of Johannesburg on Sunday.
 — Reuters photoThe coffin of former South African President Nelson Mandela is carried by military personnel during his funeral in his ancestral village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape province of Johannesburg on Sunday. — Reuters photo

Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, was laid to rest Sunday after a state funeral filled with tearful eulogies and strident vows to pursue his ideals of equality and justice.
Mandela’s casket was buried at a family plot in his rural boyhood home of Qunu, watched by his widow Graca Machel, ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, other family members and around 450 selected guests.
The interment followed a ceremonial state funeral that ran well over its allotted two hours, as speaker after speaker paid emotional tribute to the man who led South Africa out of the apartheid era.
‘The person who lies here is South Africa’s greatest son,’ said ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.
A 21-gun salute and full military honour guard had escorted Mandela’s coffin to the marquee where 4,500 mourners said their final goodbyes.
His flag-draped casket was placed on cowskins, surrounded by 95 candles — one for each year of his extraordinary life.
The frail and ageing leaders of South Africa’s anti-apartheid struggle also attended: George Bizos, Desmond Tutu and Ahmed Kathrada, whose voice broke as he delivered a eulogy for his old friend.
‘I first met him 67 years ago,’ said Kathrada, who along with Mandela was sentenced to life in prison in 1963.
He recalled his fellow inmate as a powerful amateur boxer who could cope far better than others with the physical challenge of hard labour.
‘What I saw in hospital was a man helpless and reduced to a shadow of himself,’ he said, struggling not to break down.
‘Farewell my dear brother, my mentor, my leader.’
‘Now I’ve lost a brother, my life is in a void and I don’t know who to turn to.’
Kathrada’s words left many in tears among the invited guests, whose ranks included foreign dignitaries and celebrities ranging from Britain’s Prince Charles to US talk show queen Oprah Winfrey.
The funeral closed the final chapter in the life of a towering public figure whose courage and moral fortitude turned him into a global symbol of freedom and hope.
During 10 days of mourning, hundreds of thousands of South Africans had turned out across the country to bid farewell to the founding father of their ‘Rainbow Nation’.
They braved a rain-sodden memorial in Soweto and for three days queued to see his remains lying in state at Pretoria’s Union Buildings.
For 50 million compatriots, Mandela was not just a president, but a moral guide who led them away from internecine racial conflict.
‘Ever since he passed away, I wanted to walk the journey with him,’ said Pascal Moloi, 52, who came from Johannesburg to watch with Mandela’s fellow villagers.
While Mandela had been critically ill for months, the announcement of his death on December 5 still sent a spasm through a country struggling to carry forward his vision of a harmonious multi-racial democracy of shared prosperity.
During the funeral, president Jacob Zuma told the country to carry on Mandel’s legacy.
‘One thing we can assure you of today, tata (father), as you take your final steps, is that South Africa will continue to rise.
‘South Africa will continue to rise because we dare not fail you,’ Zuma said.
After the ceremony, Mandela’s coffin was transported to a graveyard sitting on the sprawling family estate that Mandela built in Qunu after his release from prison in 1990.
‘It was in that village that I spent some of the happiest years of my boyhood and whence I trace my earliest memories,’ he wrote in his autobiography.
As the coffin was lowered into the ground, six jets flew over the gravesite in a ‘missing man formation’, usually reserved for tributes to a fallen pilot.
After a life spent in the public spotlight, Mandela’s final rites were a fiercely private affair.
A family deprived of their husband and father during his 27 years in apartheid prisons and many more years in public service seized it as an intimate last goodbye to a man who meant much to millions.
A live television broadcast followed the coffin to the graveside but was cut after several minutes in line with the family’s wishes.
Overseen by male members of his clan in line with traditional Xhosa rites, the burial included the slaughter of an ox — a ritual marking of a life’s milestones.
Mandela was referred to throughout as Dalibhunga, the name given to him at the age of 16 after undergoing the initiation to adulthood.
After the ceremony Bizos — who was Mandela’s defence lawyer — echoed the heartbreak of a nation.
‘We have known each other for 65 years,’ Bizos said, ‘now he is gone.’
‘It has been a difficult 10 days.’




Reader’s Comment

comments powered by Disqus
   

Victory Day today

Two workers paint the National Memorial premises in Savar on Sunday during the last minute preparation for today̢۪s Victory Day celebrations. 
— Sony Ramany
The nation today celebrates the 43rd Victory Day recalling the triumph in the war of independence in 1971 against the Pakistani occupation forces . Efforts are also being made to make two Guinness... Full story

9 killed in strike violence

At least nine people, including four in Lalmonirhat and three in Jaipurhat, were killed as activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir clashed with law enforcers and ruling party men during the general... Full story

BNP, allies mull fresh blockade from Tuesday

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led opposition alliance is likely to enforce a fresh weeklong blockade from Tuesday and launch a ‘non-cooperation movement’ in the last week of December to take the current... Full story

Businessmen protest at political violence

Businessmen hold a rally in front of the FBCCI office at Motijheel in Dhaka on Sunday, protesting against the political unrest and attack on industrial establishments.— Indrajit Ghosh
Businessmen on Sunday hoisted white flag and formed human chain across the country demanding business friendly environment and protesting the ongoing political violence. Full story

Nelson Mandela laid to rest

The coffin of former South African President Nelson Mandela is carried by military personnel during his funeral in his ancestral village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape province of Johannesburg on Sunday.
 — Reuters photo
Nelson Mandela, South Africa̢۪s first black president, was laid to rest Sunday after a state funeral filled with tearful eulogies and strident vows to pursue his ideals of equality and justice. Mandela̢۪s casket was... Full story

Voters denied right to choose: analysts

Analysts on Sunday said the victory of candidates uncontested in more than half of the constituencies before ballot by sharing of seats was actually an act of selection rather than election, which would deepen the crisis and push the... Full story

Revenue shortfall in 2012-13 soars to Tk 10,847cr

The aggregate revenue shortfalls including the NBR portion stood at Tk 10,847 crore from the revised estimates of the last 2012-13 fiscal year that resulted in the highest deficit financing since fiscal year 2008-09. Full story

Power Div to seek additional allocation

The power division on Thursday decided to seek Tk 2,500 crore in addition to Tk 9,862.71 allocated from the next fiscal̢۪s Annual Development Programme for the implementation of electricity generation projects, officials said. Full story

Razzaq urges Molla supporters to express grief peacefully

Abdur Razzaq, the chief of defence counsel of Jamaat leaders being tried by the International Crimes Tribunal, on Sunday urged followers and supporters of Abdul Quader Molla, who was executed on Thursday night, to... Full story

Navy receives 3 warships

Three more warships constructed at Khulna Shipyard were handed over to Bangladesh Navy in Khulna on Sunday. With the three modern ships — Aparajeya, Adamya and Atandra, a total of five ships constructed at... Full story

Housewife ‘commits suicide’

A housewife allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself at Dhaniala Para under city̢۪s Double Mooring police station in Chittagong on Sunday. The victim was identified as Rina Akter, 23, wife of Mohammad Anis. Police... Full story
  • Online Poll


    Do you think that the government has successfully brought back normalcy in public life after the January 5 elections?

    • Yes
    • No
    • No comment
    Ajax Loader