14 December 2013 by Tara Turkington

Eastern Cape welcomes Mandela home: Pictures

Crowds gathered in the Eastern Cape ahead of Nelson Mandela’s funeral in his home town of Qunu. There was an atmosphere of celebration in the air, with people giving thanks for Nelson Mandela rather than grieving his passing.

Nelson Mandela's coffin, draped with a South African flag, is touched with light as it travels along the road to Qunu, his final resting place

It was a day of bright sunshine and a day of dark thunderclouds; it was a day of joy and it was a day of sorrow.

​It was a day of bright sunshine and a day of dark thunderclouds; it was a day of joy and it was a day of sorrow.

The people of Mthatha gathered in their thousands to welcome the body of Nelson Mandela home ahead of his funeral on Sunday, 15 December. They sang and danced, and waved flags, giving thanks for a great man whose life made a massive difference to the lives of all South Africans, and who became a global icon of peace, forgiveness and reconciliation.

All along the road to Mandela's family home in the village of Qunu, clumps of people gathered to sing and welcome Mandela 'home' and to pay their last respects. There were babies, there were grandparents, and everyone in between, all singing and dancing and praising the greatest son of the Eastern Cape and of South Africa...

Crowds danced in the streets of Mthatha, in the Eastern Cape

Crowds in Mthatha sing ahead of Nelson Mandela's funeral in nearby Qunu

Children gather beside the road, to see the funeral procession go by

The marquee at Qunu for Madiba's funeral service

Forming a human chain near Qunu to welcome Nelson Mandela's funeral procession

Photographers posing for photographs: women waiting to catch a glimpse of Mandela's hearse near Qunu

A woman and sleeping child wait along the roadside near Qunu

A child waves a South African flag

Madiba's final cavalcade

Journalists watch Mandela's funeral procession go past en route to Qunu

Residents of the Eastern Cape watch Mandela's funeral procession go by

The countryside between Qunu and Mthatha in the Eastern Cape

Bidding farewell to Madiba

Category: Culture & History, Events

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