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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Your grief is Tanzania's: Kikwete

H.E. President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania eulogizes Nelson Mandela during his funeral held today December 15, 2013 in his ancestral home of Qunu, in South Africa. Mandela died December 5 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95.   (video by KTN Kenya)

Mandela's casket is escorted to the funeral ceremony on December 15.  Mandela's body traveled from Pretoria by air to Mthatha in Eastern Cape province, and then by road to Qunu, where he is to be buried today Sunday, December 15, 2013. 

A 21-gun salute is fired as the funeral procession carrying the casket of Mandela moves through Qunu.

Mandela's casket is escorted inside for the funeral ceremony.

Mandela family members and guests attend the funeral ceremony.

Mandela's widow Graca Machel (right) and former wife Winnie Madikizela Mandela (left) wipe their eyes from tears during the ceremony.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela's former wife Winnie Madikizela Mandela (left), and his widow Graca Machel (center), stand by Mandela's casket during his funeral ceremony in Qunu, South Africa, on Sunday, December 15. 

South African President Jacob Zuma speaks during the funeral ceremony.

Oprah Winfrey and Richard Branson attend the funeral ceremony.

Photos source: Reuters 

Your grief is Tanzania's: Kikwete

South Africa's grief following the death of former president Nelson Mandela was shared by Tanzania, President Jakaya Kikwete said on Sunday.

Speaking at Mandela's funeral in Qunu in the Eastern Cape, Kikwete said Mandela and Tanzania's first president Julius Nyerere built the foundation upon which the two countries' close relationship was based.

"That is why your sadness, grief and sorrow are ours as well. That is why we also join you in celebrating the life of this great man," Kikwete said. "He has left behind a vibrant democracy. A nation where nobody is denied their basic rights because of the colour of their skin. A nation where blacks can also prosper, where in the past they were condemned to live in squalor, and as second class citizens in their own country."

When Mandela visited Dar es Salaam after his release from prison, he was greeted by the biggest crowds ever to meet a foreign dignitary, even though it was raining at the time. "This record has not been broken," said Kikwete.

He recited the close historical links between Tanzania and the ANC, which the apartheid government had banned at the time, severely restricting the movement of members in and beyond South Africa.

Nyerere, after meeting Mandela when he first visited the country in 1962 as he was gathering support for the ANC's armed struggle against apartheid, allowed Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) cadres to stay and train in the country. "Beyond availing places to live and train, he (Nyerere) offered Tanzania's own moral and material support," said Kikwete.

Mandela's charisma was unmatched in modern times and it was no accident that South Africa and Tanzania enjoyed excellent bilateral relations

"Beside that, Tanzania was generous enough to give cadres of the liberation movement travel documents, passports... and when necessary, some of them assumed Tanzanian names." When Mandela came to Tanzania, he had no passport and intended going to first Accra in Ghana, then Lagos in Nigeria, and then Addis Abba in Ethiopia.

"He was given a Tanzanian travel document. It facilitated his movement and I know a number of you here used Tanzanian travel documents. I don't know if Thabo Mbeki returned his," Kikwete said, which induced laughter. "The ANC found a new home in Tanzania from where it operated, organised, spearheaded, and prosecuted the struggle."

When Madiba left for Accra, he left behind his boots in the home of the family where he stayed in the hope he could pick them up on the way back. Shortly after arriving back in South Africa he was imprisoned. "In 1995, when Mandela was president, the pair of boots was handed back to him."

Kikwete said Mandela's charisma was unmatched in modern times and it was no accident that South Africa and Tanzania enjoyed excellent bilateral relations, given the common history uniting the two countries.

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