Mandela funeral: Tiny village Qunu braces for elaborate operation

Children run along a towpath on their way to Qunu Junior Secondary School.
Credit: Getty Images

The population of Qunu is just under 300, but a massive invasion is underway ahead of Nelson Mandela’s funeral Sunday, when the Eastern Cape village where Madiba grew up hosts one of the largest events in South African history.

“There is a lot of people and a lot of disruption,” said a spokesperson at the Nelson Mandela Museum, the largest building in Qunu, which has become the site of a marquee for the world’s media.

Much larger temporary structures are being hastily constructed to host the ceremony and its 5,000 guests, with officials admitting work is behind schedule. Eleven venues in the local area will screen the funeral for those unable to attend, with up to 70,000 expected, and accommodation prices have risen sharply across the region.

Roads leading to the village will be blocked, and the local airport in Mthatha will become a no-fly zone, reserved for about 100 private jets transporting dignitaries. “The military will be in control,” announced municipality Mayor Nomakhosazana Meth. “Everything is in order there, and we are ready to warmly welcome our guests.”

Many world leaders and celebrities are expected to attend, including Britain’s Prince Charles and Oprah Winfrey. More than 1,500 members of the media have been accredited. But residents of the village have claimed they are being prevented from attending the funeral because of the visitors.

On Saturday, a military aircraft will take Mandela’s remains from Pretoria to the Eastern Cape. The funeral begins at 9 a.m. Sunday. The ex-president will receive a Christian burial, but also the Xhosa rituals of his community with an address to his spirit.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Monday is the deadline to register for Pennsylvania…

If residents want to vote in the May primary, which includes a vote for a new City Council member, today is the deadline to register.

National

Miss America thinks school should reconsider discipline of…

A Pa. student was suspended for asking Miss America to prom.

Local

Aria Health Torresdale workers caught selling prescription drugs

Two Aria Health at Torresdale employees were fired amid accusations they sold prescription drugs out of the Northeast Philadelphia campus.

National

Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter died Sunday from prostate cancer…

Former U.S. professional boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, who spent 19 years in prison for murder and then was released after it was determined he did not get a fair trial,…

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

NHL

Ray Emery steps up in Flyers’ Game 2…

Sure, he allowed two goals in the Rangers’ first four shots Sunday afternoon, but it’s about how you start, not how you finish.

NHL

Flyers come from behind, even series with Rangers

The Flyers overcame a two-goal deficit to get a much-needed win at Madison Square Garden Sunday.

MLB

Phillies get set for four against the Dodgers

The Phillies will face tough starting pitching out west against the Dodgers this week.

MLB

Phillies notebook: Cole Hamels returns this week

The Phillies should receive a big boost when Cole Hamels returns during the Dodgers series.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.