Dec. 16 (UPI) -- Former South African president and anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela was laid to rest yesterday in his ancestral home of Qunu, following ten days of commemoration.
Nearing his final resting place, Mandela's flag-draped coffin was carried from his remote homestead atop a gun carriage to the marquee where the funeral was held. His casket was placed beneath a large portrait of the former leader, surrounded by 95 large candles representing his years on earth.
Mourners sang the national anthem and then his friends, family, and African leaders eulogized him. Family spokesman Chief Ngangomhlaba Matanzima said "A great tree has fallen, he is now going home to rest with his forefathers. We thank them for lending us such an icon." Friend and fellow Robben island prisoner Ahmed Kathrada called Mandela "my dear brother, my mentor, my leader." Mandela's grandchildren also spoke at the service; granddaughter Nandi said the family would miss his sense of humor as well as "stern voice." His wife Graca Machel and ex-wife Winne sat with South African President Jacob Zuma.
Following the funeral service, South African armed forces escorted his casket to the grave site. Mandela was then buried in a private ceremony.
The burial was Mandela's final resting place after a ten day period of commemoration. Mandela passed away at the ago of 95 on December 5.
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