Former South African president and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela was laid to rest in his home village Sunday.
About 4,500 friends, family and dignitaries converged on the tiny village of Qunu to attend a state funeral highlighted by musical and spoken tributes to the revered statesman.
Afterward military officers, both black and white, rolled Mandela\’s flag-draped coffin to the family burial plot where a select number of guests took part in a graveside ceremony. Mandela\’s body was lowered into the grave after a 21-gun salute and a flyover by military helicopters and planes.
The service ended a 10-day period of tributes and mourning for Mandela, his nation\’s first black president, and a central figure in the struggle to end the racist apartheid regime.
During the funeral, South African President Jacob Zuma called his predecessor "a fountain of wisdom, a pillar of strength, and a beacon of hope for all those fighting for a just and equitable world order."
Mandela\’s widow, Grace Machel, and his second wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, were dressed in black and sat on either side of Jacob Zuma.
Other mourners at the funeral included Britain\’s Prince Charles, American TV icon Oprah Winfrey, British billionaire Richard Branson and numerous South African activists who assisted Mandela in the struggle against apartheid.
Source: VOA and agencies