Sunday marked a final farewell to Nelson Mandela who died December 5. In a solemn, heavy-hearted ceremony, 4500 mourners stood beneath a tent with people like Oprah, The Clinton’s, Prince Charles, Nelson’s current wife Grace Machel, and former wife Winnie. 95 candles flickered, glowing for each vibrant year of a brilliant life that blazed in glory across the globe. And the crowd sang the anthem "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" or "God Bless Africa."
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All converged on Mandela’s hometown of Qunu to end 10 days of moving memorial for one of the world’s greatest, most loved and respected civil rights icons.
"You symbolize today and always will… qualities of forgiveness and reconciliation," said a tearful Ahmed Kathrada, long-time Mandela friend and loyal comrade in the struggle against apartheid. He served decades locked up with Madiba. "I've lost a brother. My life is in a void, and I don't know who to turn to."
After the ceremony, family and friends walk to the gravesite. Sitting overlooking Nelson’s childhood home, it’s where he herded and happily lived with two sisters. This was Mandela’s place of peace. His escape from a reality of reminders when things were simpler.
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The body arrived in Qunu Saturday, after laying in state for three days in Pretoria, before being passed to the ruling African National Congress. Three of his children are buried here. And following tradition, with the sun highest in the afternoon, Nelson Mandela's burial commenced, joining him with his babies in eternity. No more suffering. No more worrying. Just love, peace, and light – all the things that Madiba was and will forever be known to be.