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Programme of events at Mandela’s funeral

Published on 15/12/2013

Nelson Mandela's burial in his boyhood village was a solemn ceremony Sunday that infused traditional Xhosa, modern Christian and military rites.

The family viewed the body just after dawn and about 90 minutes later the casket was carried into a huge dome-shaped white marquee by men in military uniform.

The formal ceremony kicked off with an old Methodist Xhosa song whose lyrics translate as “fulfil your dreams”.

The country’s national anthem was then sung in four of the country’s 11 official languages.

Ahmed Kathrada, anti-apartheid activist and Mandela’s fellow political prisoner, was to deliver the opening eulogy followed by the reading of an obituary.

A representative of Mandela’s children and grandchildren will then make their tributes.

Ethiopian Prime Minister and African Union chairman Hailemariam Desalegn, will lead tributes by African leaders.

Other eulogies will come from President Joyce Banda of Malawi, who chairs the southern African regional bloc SADC, and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.

South African President Jacob Zuma will give an oration.

Around 0800 GMT, the funeral procession will move to the gravesite, a few hundred metres from the tent.

Before the coffin is lowered into the grave, the national anthem will be played again, and the military will sound another 21-round gun salute and perform a fly-past tribute.