Funeral arrangements & services
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was laid to rest during an official state funeral, which took place over a period of 10 days.
Former president Nelson Mandela was buried at Qunu in the Eastern Cape on 15 December 2013, following an official memorial service on 10 December at FNB stadium in Johannesburg.
South African flags at all official buildings were flown at half-mast throughout the period.
The public was given ample opportunity to pay their last respects to former President Mandela. There were public venues throughout the country that served as memorial centres where people were able to participate in public mourning events.
Books of condolence were available at our diplomatic missions around the world.
The public and media were welcome to attend a memorial service for former President Mandela at the FNB Stadium on 10 December. Gates opened at 06h00 and the service started at 11h00.
Details on the service are available under Memorial service.
South Africans and selected international visitors and guests were able to view President Mandela’s remains at the Union Buildings for three days from Wednesday, 11 December.
President Mandela’s remains were transported daily between 1 Military Hospital, Thaba Tshwane, and the Union Buildings. The procession left 1 Military Hospital at 07h00 daily and President Mandela’s body was on view from 08h00.
- On Wednesday December 11, the Mandela family and VVIPs viewed the body from 10h00.
- Members of the public filed past the body from 12h00 to 17h30.
- On Thursday and Friday, 12 and 13 December, the public had access to the casket from 08h00 to 17h30.
Government appealed to people to work with the various agencies of government who managed this route so that daily events were dignified and secure.
Two sites in Pretoria were used as points from which mourners were shuttled to the Union Buildings and back. No other access was possible. Mourners were also advised that cellphones will need to be off and out of sight as mourners file past the body.
Details of this route and times were provided later. Government invited mourners to line this route and form a public guard of honour for Tata Madiba each morning when the remains are transported. The public guard of honour will not apply in the evening.
On Saturday, 14 December, the former President’s remains were transported to the Eastern Cape from Air Force Base Waterkloof in Pretoria, where the ruling party bid Madiba farewell.
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) took charge of this leg of the State funeral.
A military Guard of Honour welcomed the mortal remains which were draped in the national flag.
Upon arrival at Mthatha Airport the SANDF contingent performed the ceremonial removal of the Mortal Remains form the aircraft.
The coffin was placed on a gun carriage and then transported into a hearse.
The SANDF sounded the national anthem while the Guard of Honour presented arms and salute.
The mortal remains were thereafter transported to the family home in Qunu, where the Thembu community conducted a traditional ceremony.
The funeral service at Qunu concluded the 10 day State funeral period.
The Mandela family, the President and Cabinet, Heads of State, and other dignitaries were in attendance.
The SANDF was again charged with draping the coffin. A National Salute was performed and the National Anthem was played.
South African Airways operated a special air transport service that ferried mourners who attended the funeral of world icon and former president Nelson Mandela in the Eastern Cape.
This special service – for which travellers paid – catered for mourners who attended the funeral and the service was also available on the return leg of their travel.
The special service did not replace and did not disrupt SAA’s existing daily operations to the Eastern Cape – except that airspace was restricted around Mthatha.
- Statement by Minister Collins Chabane on behalf of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the State Funerals on the arrangements of President Nelson Mandela’s State Funeral, 8 December 2013
- Road closures
- Airports Company of South Africa update for State Funeral of President Nelson Mandela