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Nelson Mandela attends great-granddaughter`s funeral

Last Updated: Thursday, June 17, 2010 - 15:17

Johannesburg: Nelson Mandela emerged stiffly from a car and leaned on a walking stick to attend Thursday`s funeral for his 13-year-old great-granddaughter, who was killed in a car crash after the World Cup`s opening concert.

The anti-apartheid icon did not attend the tournament`s opening ceremony and first game following the death of Zenani Mandela. Police say the close family friend who was driving could be charged with drunk driving and homicide.

Thursday`s funeral was held in the brick chapel of the Johannesburg private school Zenani had attended. She was a member of the school`s choir, marimba club and drum corps, and had told relatives she wanted to be a plastic surgeon.

Frail and nearing 92, Mandela`s public appearances are increasingly rare. He arrived Thursday accompanied by his wife, Graca Machel, and was driven from the school`s front gates to the chapel a few minutes after the service began.

He took a front pew, his face somber and a corsage of pink roses pinned to the lapel of his black coat.

Also among the mourners was his ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who is Zenani`s great-grandmother.

Mourners, including Zenani`s classmates in school blazers, each held a single white rose. They stood to sing "Amazing Grace" as the funeral began. Then, a montage of family portraits including one of Zenani hugging Mandela was projected on a screen as a recording of "Lean on Me" played.

Bureau Report

First Published: Thursday, June 17, 2010 - 15:17
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