Africa

Nelson Mandela attends great-granddaughter's funeral

  • 17 June 2010
  • From the section Africa

Nelson Mandela has made a rare public appearance for the funeral of his great-granddaughter Zenani, who was killed in a car crash last week.

Zenani Mandela, 13, died after a World Cup concert in Soweto.

Following the tragedy, Mr Mandela cancelled plans to go to the opening ceremony of the football tournament.

The car's driver, a family friend, was arrested and initially charged with drink-driving, but is not due in court until after the World Cup ends.

Anti-apartheid icon Mr Mandela, 91, had campaigned for the World Cup to be held in South Africa.

The family held a private burial before going to the chapel service where the public were invited.

Hundreds of well wishers turned up, filling the chapel and a tent set up nearby.

Television pictures show him being taken from his limousine by a golf buggy and then, supported by his wife, Graca Machel, making his way to the front pew of the chapel at Zenani's Johannesburg school where the service is being held.

Mr Mandela's ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela - Zenani's great-grandmother - is also present, along with key figures from the world of politics, entertainment and sport and some of Zenani's classmates.

The Soweto Gospel Choir performed as guests arrived, while later the classic soul song Lean on Me was played as images of Zenani were shown on a screen.

Zenani had celebrated her 13th birthday on 9 June. She was one of Mr Mandela's nine great-grandchildren.

An anguished message was read during the service from Zenani's mother, Zoleka Mandela-Seakamela, daughter of Mandela's daughter Zindzi Mandela.

Mrs Mandela-Seakamela said she wished she had indulged her daughter more, allowing her to sleep in late and wear make-up.

"I should have given you more hugs, more kisses," she said.

South Africa has one of the world's worst road safety records, and there is an average of 42 deaths each day on roads across the country.

Last Thursday's World Cup concert had drawn tens of thousands to Soweto's Orlando Stadium, and traffic in the area had been busy into the early hours of Friday.

The event featured a cast of international stars - including Colombian singer Shakira, the Black Eyed Peas and Alicia Keys, as well as African stars Amadou & Mariam and Hugh Masekela.

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