Daughtrey reports back on his trip to Nelson Mandela’s funeral
Nayaba Arinde | 12/26/2013, 11:28 a.m.
With much ceremony, and with Winnie Madizikela-Mandela and Graça Mandela consoling each other in a moving tribute to the late icon, Nelson Mandela was laid to rest in the family plot in his ancestral home of Qunu, South Africa, on Sunday, Dec. 15.
Ten days of mourning followed the Dec. 5th death of Mandela after a prolonged illness. Leaders of the world attended his memorial services.
Amongst the dignitaries in attendance at his final homegoing was the Rev. Herbert Daughtry, pastor of the House of the Lord Church in Brooklyn, who took along his 24-year-old grandson Lorenzo Daughtry Chambers. They traveled with Bongani Sibeko, the Pan-Africanist representative to the United Nations in the 1970s. Driving over 12 hours from Pretoria, the legislative capital of South Africa, to Qunu, in the Eastern Cape province, in his gracious and poetic manner, Daughtry described the landscape: “[There was a] spacious land mass that joined the sky on the distant horizon: green grass and trees, low hills and high mountains, sloping valleys containing scattered clusters of small houses on ancestral land. Animals of all kinds roamed freely across the terrain. It was a journey of ‘brooding beauty,’ and it was, for me, deeply, emotionally personal.” According to Daughtry, the service for “this legend we call Nelson Mandela—Madiba [connected to the Xhosa clan] and Tata [‘father’]” was held in a tent that looked more like “an outside conference center.” Chandeliers hung from the ceiling, the reverend said, and “a huge portrait of Mandela looked out across 4,000 attendees, including family members, heads of state, members of the African National Congress and celebrities from all walks of life.”
As seen on TV by millions, if not billions, of people worldwide, Madiba’s casket was draped in the national flag and rested on a carpet of animal skins below the lectern where speakers delivered their tributes. Daughtry noted that speakers included family members, South African President Jacob Zuma, former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda, Malawian President Joyce Banda and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete. The sermon was delivered by Bishop Z. Siwa. African National Congress Deputy Chairman Cyril Ramaphosa and Baleka Mbete were officiants.
Banda delivered a rousing eulogy: “We in the SADC [Southern African Development Community] region, whilst mourning his death, we also see this as an opportunity to celebrate the life of a great statesman, an icon from our region,” she said. “The life of Tata Mandela will continue to inspire those of us left behind to promote peace and security, deepen regional integration and work to support one another as it was during the fight against apartheid. We will strive to emulate Tata Mandela’s stature and spirit so that his legacy can live on.”
Banda may have struck the greatest chord when she said, “As an African woman and leader, I wish to acknowledge Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela for her efforts and steadfastness for standing with Tata Mandela before and during Tata’s imprisonment and for being in the forefront of ANC’s struggle for liberation.
“And to you, Mama Graça Machel, I wish to thank you for your visible love and care, especially during Tata’s last days. To both of you, the love and tolerance you have demonstrated before the whole world during the funeral has shown us that you are prepared to continue with Tata’s ideals. I wish to therefore appeal to all South Africans to remain united and continue to be a rainbow nation, for this is what Tata Madiba is cherished for.”