In Pictures: Smiles and tears for Madiba

Al-Jazeera

Qunu, South Africa¬†- It was a blazing hot summer’s day in Qunu.

The sun baked the soil beneath feet of the hundreds of people who had gathered at the museum overlooking the rolling hills of one the country’s most famous abodes.

Here, in front of a giant screen, they watched the funeral of Nelson Mandela play out.

It was a scene of mixed emotions, as it has been over the course of the past week, ever since Madiba passed away, on December 5.

For every person smiling, there was another crying. The only constant here was fixation with which these spectators searched the screen for the tiny details, the reminders of the Madiba they knew and loved.

And as the eulogies were read, the songs sung, Madiba’s farewell suddenly became real.

And when the casket reached its final place of rest, the final prayer read, the fighter jets that pierced the skyline brought hundreds to their feet in realisation that the jets that thundered their way across the television set, were above them too.

A silence permeated the air. Madiba was about to leave them forever.

Al Jazeera captures some of the striking images of the day in Qunu.

/Azad Essa/ Al Jazeera
For those who could not attend the funeral, a public viewing areas were set up in Qunu.
/Azad Essa/ Al Jazeera
The first fully fledged state funeral had observers transfixed to the television screen.
/Azad Essa/ Al Jazeera
Hundreds watched the big screen patiently as the last rites continued through the morning.
/Azad Essa/ Al Jazeera
Despite knowing the inevitable, many couldn’t even bear to watch.
/Azad Essa/ Al Jazeera
Others celebrated as Madiba would have wanted them to.
/Azad Essa/ Al Jazeera
Still, some visitors seemed shocked as the funeral ceremony ended.
/Azad Essa/ Al Jazeera
That a sadness drifted through the air was difficult to deny.
/Azad Essa/ Al Jazeera
Citizen, police, and army looked on transfixed as the ceremony marked an end of an era.

Posted in: Al Jazeera

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