Mandela's Body Arrives in Home Village as Tutu 'Snubbed'

Retired archbishop says he was not invited to tomorrow's funeral
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2013 9:05 AM CST
Mandela's Body Arrives in Home Village as Tutu 'Snubbed'
The hearse carrying the body of former South African president Nelson Mandela just before it arrives at his home in Qunu, South Africa, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013.   (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

Nelson Mandela's body arrived in his home village of Qunu today ahead of a funeral and burial tomorrow, the AP reports. The hearse carrying his casket was escorted by throngs of police, military, and other vehicles after being flown from the South African capital on a military plane. Many locals drove hours to watch as the hearse made its 20-mile drive from the Mthatha airport to Mandela's final resting place.

But the day was marked with a bit of controversy, too, as retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu claimed he would not be attending tomorrow's funeral because the current government, which he has often publicly criticized in the past, did not invite him. "Much as I would have loved to attend the service to say a final farewell to someone I loved and treasured, it would have been disrespectful to Tata (Mandela) to gatecrash what was billed as a private family funeral," he said in a statement. But a government spokesperson says Tutu is in fact on the guest list. Click for more on the tribal rituals that will play a role in tomorrow's ceremony. (More Nelson Mandela stories.)

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