Nelson Mandela Laid to Rest

The coffin of South African former president Nelson Mandela is escorted inside the compound for his funeral ceremony in Qunu on Dec. 15, 2013.

Nelson Mandela was buried in his childhood village of Qunu, South Africa, on Sunday, ending the journey of the singular man who went from prisoner to president and revolutionized South Africa.

A military escort accompanied his coffin to the burial site and removed the national flag that draped his coffin, CNN reports. His widow, Graça Machal, and others watched from a nearby tent.


"Now you have achieved the ultimate freedom in the bosom of God, your maker," the officiator said, according to CNN.

The burial ended 10 days of national mourning for the revered icon, who died Dec. 5 after a recurring lung infection and months of declining health. He was 95. 

Earlier, about 4,500 people gathered beneath a tent to attend his funeral, CNN reports.

The service, amid a wall of flickering candles, began with a military procession wheeling his casket into the tent, the report shows. The national anthem, "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika," or "God Bless Africa," played, and a giant picture of Mandela smiled down on mourners. Residents danced in celebration of his life, the report says.


"Today marks the end of an extraordinary journey that began 95 years ago," South African President Jacob Zuma said during the ceremony, CNN reports. "It is the end of 95 glorious years of a freedom fighter … a beacon of hope to all those fighting for a just and equitable world order."

Zuma reportedly thanked Mandela's family for sharing him with the world, and said his memory will live on.


"We shall not say goodbye, for you are not gone," Zuma said, CNN reports. "You'll live forever in our hearts and minds."

Read more at CNN.

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