Nelson Mandela was laid to rest in his ancestral home of Qunu, South Africa, more than a week after the former president passed away. Several thousand guests gathered in the city to bid a final farewell to the nation’s “greatest son.”
The anti-apartheid icon was buried in Qunu and his funeral service took place in a massive tent set up at the family compound not far from the house he built. A smaller, graveside service then took place with his family members, heads of state, and select officials.
Military jets and helicopters flew overhead with South African flags as his coffin was lowered into the ground. USA Today notes that Chief Ngangomhlaba Matanzima, a Mandela family spokesman, told mourners after the larger ceremony got underway, “A great tree has fallen, he is now going home to rest with his forefathers. We thank them for lending us such an icon.”
Funeral attendees and those who couldn’t make it tweeted their condolences and photos as the ceremony progressed.
— DRUM Magazine (@DrumMagazine) December 15, 2013
— Reesa Forrester (@Reeses_Pieces1) December 15, 2013
— harumutasa/aljazeera (@harumutasa) December 15, 2013
— Gavin Koppel (@Gavinkoppel) December 15, 2013
‘He doesn’t need a stone he is in all of our hearts’ – Archbishop Desmond Tutu at #MandelaFuneral
— Rachael Akidi (@rakidi) December 15, 2013
— *~* Lynette Koen *~* (@lynettekoen) December 15, 2013
— Barney Mthombothi (@mthombothi) December 15, 2013
Madiba’s casket lowering into the Qunu earth just made it real. Today, Nelson Mandela BECOMES the foundation of South Africa #MandelaFuneral
— Ulrich J v Vuuren 웃 (@UlrichJvV) December 15, 2013
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) December 15, 2013
Sunday’s burial ends more than a week of mourning ceremonies for Nelson Mandela, including a massive stadium memorial in Johannesburg and three days where the leader’s body lay in state in Pretoria.
[Image via Twitter]