Mandela attends great-granddaughter's funeral | world | Hindustan Times
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Mandela attends great-granddaughter's funeral

world Updated: Jun 17, 2010 19:21 IST

A somber and frail Nelson Mandela attended the funeral on Thursday for his 13-year-old great-granddaughter, who was killed in a car crash after the World Cup's opening concert, and gloom descended over South Africa with its team at risk of being bounced out of the tournament.

The 92-year-old anti-apartheid icon emerged stiffly from a car and leaned on a walking stick. He was ferried in a golf cart to the brick chapel of the Johannesburg private school Zenani Mandela had attended and took a front pew. Mandela's face was somber. A corsage of pink roses was pinned to the lapel of his black coat.

Police say a close family friend who was driving the car that crashed the night of June 10 could be charged with drunk driving and homicide. Zenani was a member of the choir, marimba club and drum corps of St. Stithians College where her funeral was held, and wanted to be a plastic surgeon.

After Zenani died when the car she in crashed on a highway, Mandela decided not to attend the tournament's opening ceremony and first game as had been planned. Mandela's public appearances are increasingly rare.

A private burial was held earlier today. The public had been welcomed to the chapel service, and several hundred people attended, including an overflow crowd in a tent outside. Mandela was accompanied by his wife, Graca Machel. Also present was his ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who is Zenani's great-grandmother.

Zenani's classmates in school blazers and other mourners each held a single white rose. They stood to sing "Amazing Grace" as the funeral began before a montage of family portraits, including one of Zenani hugging Mandela, was projected on a screen as a recording of "Lean on Me" played.