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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Mandela's Final Journey Home


Nelson Mandela is taking his final journey through his village in South African.  Mandela's remains were honored in a ceremony at the capital's air base just prior to boarding a military plane headed for his village.

Mandela's followers traveled for hours singing and dancing as Mandela T-shirts were passed out.

"We got up this morning at 2 a.m. and drove from Port Elizabeth — it's about seven hours — and we got here now. We're waiting on to show our last respects to Madiba," said Ebrahim Jeftha, using Mandela's clan name.

While Mandela wanted to spend his last days in the rural village, his health kept him hospitalized in Pretoria, then close by at his home in Johannesburg due to lung problems and other ailments.

Milly Viljoen, 43, drove 12 hours through the night with a friend to stand on the roadside overlooking Mandela's compound in Qunu.

"'It's befitting to see him to his final resting place," she said.

Mandela's widow Graca Machel, wearing black, wept and wiped tears from under her glasses. Mandela's former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, looking stricken, was also there as well as Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and former South African President Thabo Mbeki. Other members of the extended Mandela family also attended.

Mandela's casket is expected to arrive at Mthatha Saturday afternoon, greeted by a full military ceremony. Rituals will also be performed before a motorcade takes the casket from Mthatha to Qunu.

The public has been invited to view the cortege as it makes its way to Qunu. The body will be taken to the Mandela homestead, where more rituals will be performed.  A night vigil by the ANC is planned at Walter Sisulu University in Mthatha on Saturday, with party leaders and government officials honoring Mandela on the eve of his burial.

His body lay in state for three days this week, drawing huge crowds of South Africans who mourned his death and celebrated his successful struggle against apartheid.

This is a going home celebration fit for a King, which in a way, that's what Mandela was.  God Bless!

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