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Mandela 'returns home' to final resting place

Published on Dec 15, 2013 7:05 AM
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A military helicopter patrols the area as the hearse carrying the coffin of former South African President Nelson Mandela is escorted by a funeral procession after entering his home in Qunu, Eastern Cape on Dec 14, 2013. Nelson Mandela's remains were returned to his beloved rural childhood village on the eve of a traditional burial on Sunday, the final leg of his exceptional 95-year journey. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

QUNU, South Africa (AFP) - Nelson Mandela's remains were returned to his beloved rural childhood village on the eve of a traditional burial on Sunday, the final leg of his exceptional 95-year journey.

As South Africa prepared to say goodbye to the prisoner-turned-president who led it out of apartheid, a spokesman for Mandela's fellow Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu said he would attend the burial after all, following an outcry when Tutu earlier said he had not been invited.

Tutu, who has at times been openly critical of the South African government and the Mandela family, said Saturday morning he did not want to "gatecrash what was billed as a private family funeral".

But Tutu's spokesman said late Saturday that the retired Anglican archbishop would in fact be travelling to the remote eastern village of Qunu early the next day to attend his longtime friend's burial, in a brief statement that did not explain the change of course.

 
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