Nelson Mandela's body arrives in his ancestral village

The body of Nelson Mandela has arrived in Qunu, the small rural village where he grew up, ahead of his burial there tomorrow.

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Mandela's body welcomed home ahead of funeral

Nelson Mandela's coffin has been flown to his ancestral homeland of Qunu, where he will be buried in a largely private ceremony tomorrow.

Large crowds lined the road to say a final farewell as his hearse drove by. Members of his political party - the African National Congress - also paid their last respects to their long-term former leader earlier today.


Desmond Tutu 'certainly invited' to Mandela funeral

A spokesman for the South African president said he was "certain" Archbishop Desmond Tutu was invited to Mandela's funeral.

Read: Desmond Tutu 'snubbed' at Mandela's funeral

Spokesman Mac Maharaj said the Nobel laureate, who has preached at the funerals of most anti-apartheid funerals, was welcome.

Certainly he is invited. He's an important person.

Mr Tutu's daughter, the Reverend Mpho Tutu, said in a statement that her father had not been accredited as a clergyman at Mr Mandela's funeral, to be held in Mr Mandela's home village of Qunu. Mr Maharaj said no credentials were needed.

The issue highlights occasional frictions between Mr Tutu and the current government of President Jacob Zuma.

Two years ago, Mr Tutu, slammed the ANC-led government as "disgraceful" for not issuing a visa to the Dalai Lama. He said it was worse than the country's former oppressive white regime.

Qunu locals celebrate as Mandela 'comes home'

The body of Nelson Mandela arrived on Saturday at his ancestral home in the rolling hills of South Africa's Eastern Cape and was greeted by singing, dancing locals ahead of the anti-apartheid leader's state funeral set for the following day.

As the hearse bearing the remains of South Africa's first black president appeared on the horizon, crowds by the road broke into "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" (God Bless Africa), the evocative national anthem adopted after the end of apartheid in 1994.

Thousands welcome Mandela hearse home

Mourners carry a photo of Nelson Mandela as the hearse travels through Credit: Reuters

The hearse carrying the coffin of Nelson Mandela has arrived at his hometown, ahead of tomorrow's state funeral.

More: Nelson Mandela's body arrives in Qunu

Mourners stand by the road as a hearse containing the coffin of Nelson Mandela makes its way through Mthatha. Credit: Reuters

At the Mthatha airport the coffin was welcomed by a military guard and placed in a convoy for the 20 mile journey toward Qunu.

Residents and people who had travelled for hours thronged a road leading to Qunu, singing and dancing as Mandela T-shirts were handed out.

Mourners march before the funeral procession of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Credit: Reuters

His widow, Graca Machel, and his former wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, tearfully embraced at Mthatha airport when the coffin arrived.


Nelson Mandela’s body carried to his ancestral home

Mandela's body is carried across the runway at Mthatha airport. Credit: ITV News

The body of former South Africa president Nelson Mandela is being taken to his ancestral home ahead of his burial tomorrow.

His body landed in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape and is being carried to the village of Qunu, Mandela's childhood home.

The funeral will be attended by around 5,000 people. Credit: ITV News

At least 100,000 people saw Mandela's body lying in state in Pretoria over the last three days.

Plane carrying Mandela's body leaves Pretoria

The coffin of Nelson Mandela is escorted aboard a military cargo plane. Credit: ITV News

The plane carrying Nelson Mandela's body has left Pretoria as it heads to Qunu for tomorrow's funeral.

The ANC held a farewell ceremony for Mandela this morning. Credit: ITV News

South Africa president Jacob Zuma described Mandela as a “man of action” during the ANC’s farewell ceremony at the Waterkloof Air Base in Pretoria.

The journey to Mthatha airport will take about two hours.

Nelson Mandela funeral: Desmond Tutu ‘snubbed’

Desmond Tutu attended the Mandela memorial in Soweto. Credit: Dennis Van Tine/ABACA USA

Desmond Tutu has not been invited to tomorrow’s funeral of Nelson Mandela despite being a close ally of the former South Africa president.

Critics have described it as a politically motivated snub as the retired archbishop has spoken out against the governing African National Congress (ANC).

He said he will miss the burial after receiving "no indication" he had been invited, according to reports.

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