Body of Nelson Mandela arrives at his ancestral home of Qunu

Saturday 14 December 2013 23.40
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The hearse carrying the remains of South Africa's first black president rolled with a police escort
The hearse carrying the remains of South Africa's first black president rolled with a police escort
Tembu Xhosa tribe members wait for the arrival of the body of their chief
Tembu Xhosa tribe members wait for the arrival of the body of their chief
The hearse carrying the remains of South Africa's first black president rolled with a police escort into the hamlet of scattered homes lying between green pastures
The hearse carrying the remains of South Africa's first black president rolled with a police escort into the hamlet of scattered homes lying between green pastures
Delighted residents broke into the South African national anthem as the cortege appeared on the road from Mthatha airport 700km south of Johannesburg
Delighted residents broke into the South African national anthem as the cortege appeared on the road from Mthatha airport 700km south of Johannesburg

The body of Nelson Mandela is at his ancestral home of Qunu in South Africa's Eastern Cape ahead of the funeral tomorrow.

Large numbers of people lined the roads to pay their respects as the cortege passed by.

His coffin, draped in the country's national flag, had earlier been carried from a farewell service in Pretoria and onto a military plane, escorted by two fighter jets.

Preparations for Mr Mandela's funeral were earlier marred by a public spat between the South African government and Mr Tutu, one of the most prominent survivors in the long anti-apartheid struggle.

At least 100,000 people saw Mr Mandela's body lying in state in Pretoria over the last three days, but some had to be turned away.

The 95-year-old former leader, who was imprisoned for 27 years for opposing racist apartheid before emerging in 1990 to forge a new democratic South Africa, died on 5 December.

Earlier today, Mr Mandela's body was flown with a fighter jet escort from Waterkloof airforce base in Pretoria.

The ruling African National Congress bade a formal farewell to "Comrade Mandela", its most historic leader at the airforce base.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams and a party colleague also formed part of the honour guard at the airforce base.

He was invited to participate in the ceremony by the ANC. 

At 8am tomorrow the funeral will begin, 4,500 people will attend.

Retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu will join scores of dignitaries from around the world tomorrow for the funeral of Nelson Mandela.

4,000 people have been invited to attend the funeral of the anti-apartheid hero including family members, African leaders and several heads of states.

Archbishop Tutu earlier said he was not invited to attend.

But on social media tonight, his Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation posted: "Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu will be travelling to Qunu early tomorrow to attend Tata's funeral."

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond #Tutu will be travelling to #Qunu early tomorrow to attend Tata's funeral. #TutuAttend #MandelaBurial DLTLF

— TutuLegacy (@TutuLegacy) December 14, 2013

Mr Tutu, a Nobel laureate who has strongly criticised the current government, said in a statement that he would not be attending Mr Mandela's funeral, even though he wishes to pay respects to his long-time friend.

He said he was not invited - an apparent snub that the South African government vehemently denies.

"Much as I would have loved to attend the service to say a final farewell to someone I loved and treasured, it would have been disrespectful to Tata (Mandela) to gatecrash what was billed as a private family funeral," Mr Tutu said in the statement.

"Had I or my office been informed that I would be welcome there is no way on earth that I would have missed it."

Mr Tutu, 82, said he had cancelled his plans to fly to the Eastern Cape to attend the funeral after receiving no indication that his name was on the guest list or accreditation list.

However, Mac Maharaj, a spokesman for the South African presidency, said Mr Tutu was on the guest list and that he hoped a solution would be found allowing him to attend.

Keywords: nelson mandela