Nelson Mandela laid to rest in emotional funeral service

Nelson Mandela was laid to rest in his childhood rural town of Qunu, in an emotional funeral service that was held on Sunday.

Click on photos below for more pictures from the funeral.

Against a backdrop of the former leader's portrait lit up by 95 candles, one to represent each year of his life, notable speakers took to the stage to address the grieving audience.



Tributes were paid to the Nobel Peace Prize winner, who passed away on 5 December.

"He was a true servant of the people, his mission in life was to make lives better," said his granddaughter Nandi Mandela. "He truly cared for his family and children."

Jacob Zuma, the current president of South Africa, began his address in song and was joined by the audience.

"We wish today to express two simple words: thank you," he said. "Thank you for being everything that we wanted and needed in a leader during a difficult time in our lives. Whilst the long walk to freedom has ended in the physical sense our own journey continues."


The anti-apartheid icon's widow Graça Machel and former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela were given special mention in a speech delivered by Malawian President Joyce Banda.

"The love and tolerance you have demonstrated before the whole world at the funeral shows us that you are prepared to continue with his ideals," she said.

Other high-profile mourners at the funeral included Prince Charles who attended in the place of the Queen. The British royal, who was not accompanied his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is said to have carried a letter from the reigning monarch to be presented to the Mandela family.

Richard Branson, Prince Albert of Monaco, Oprah Winfrey and her partner Stedman Graham, the Clinton and the Obama families were all seen paying their respects, as well as Hollywood stars Forrest Whitaker and Idris Elba.

The casket was escorted out of the marquee to the family's burial site, where it was lowered into the ground at just before 11am, British time.