Nelson Mandela funeral: What to expect as global icon is laid to rest
He was not like that. He was a kind person, a loving person, she said. I think things are changing since he died. These people left dont like us. There was also concern among South Africans that former Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a friend of Mandelas, might not attend the funeral. Tutu announced he had not received an invitation nor any indication he was welcome at the funeral. Tutu was an important figure in the liberation struggle, mobilizing church-goers and believers to support the fight against apartheid. Its very sad. Desmond Tutu played a major role, said Qunu resident Wisizwe Billie, 36, a schoolteacher. Tutu has been a critic of the government in recent years. Tutu eventually announced Saturday that he was going to attend the funeral, after the government got in touch with his office.
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Mandela’s religious roots were in Methodism. 0615 GMT: The choir is leading attendees in the South African national anthem. Mandela‘s coffin is at the front of the room on top of cow skins. Some mourners place their fists on their chests. FUNERAL STARTS 0610 GMT: The coffin is now taken off the gun carriage and being carried into the marquee, carried by military figures and followed by Mandela‘s widow Graca Machel and former wife Winnie. 0601 GMT: The coffin is taken towards the giant white marquee where the funeral is being held as a funeral march plays. The funeral service itself will begin with Xhosa hymn ‘Lizalis idinga lakho’ — ‘Fulfil Your Promise’. 0552 GMT: Mandela’s coffin, wrapped in a South African flag, is on a gun carriage as part of a procession led by a military band which is heading towards the marquee, with full pomp and ceremony. The coffin is receiving a salute from 21 field guns, sending puffs of smoke into the air as the rounds are fired off and thundering across Qunu. 0548 GMT: Funeral plans were briefly overshadowed by an outcry after Mandela‘s old friend and fellow Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu said he had not been invited to attend the funeral. But late on Saturday, Tutu said he would be attending the funeral after all as government tried to brush off the confusion as a misunderstanding. Tutu — who baptised South Africa the “Rainbow Nation” — has been a persistent critic of the government of President Jacob Zuma and has also spoken out against infighting in Mandela’s family.
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Nelson Mandela funeral: Live Report
Mourners wave flags at a telecast of the memorial service at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. Spain’s Prince Felipe arrives at FNB Stadium. British Prime Minister David Cameron arrives for the memorial service. Former British Prime Minister John Major arrives for the memorial service.
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