The Eastern Cape village of Qunu hosted one of the most important events in South Africa's history on Sunday, yet many of the thousands of journalists who were there watched from a distance, cordoned off and directed to a media centre by police, viewing the same footage beamed around the world. Most of the locals, many who had met former President Nelson Mandela long before we came for his funeral, were in the same boat. Many just went about everyday life. Others caught what they could on TV or radio. Some, of course, wept for the hero we lost. Words and photos by GREG NICOLSON
Photo: A large structure was erected on the Mandela family’s Qunu property to accommodate the exclusive funeral. Almost 12,000 soldiers had been deployed and confronted those seeking a closer look.
Photo: A television broadcast of the funeral at a house overlooking the funeral site. The family weren’t watching the event, but switched it on when asked, out of interest, hospitality, and, like many in the area, in the hope that the media would help them with a quick buck.
Photo: Local Si Ngiyunxe listens to the funeral on the radio. In the background the media centre can be seen while to his left is the funeral site. He grew up on the property adjacent to Mandela’s and is tending to his cows while next door dignitaries pay their respects.
Photo: A mourner listens to the funeral proceedings in Qunu.