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Live screenings united mourners

Mourners in cities around SA united as they watched the live screening of Madiba’s funeral.

Candles are lit under a portrait of Neslon Mandela before the funeral ceremony of South African former president Nelson Mandela in Qunu on December 15, 2013. Picture: AFP

QUNU - Locals at the Nkalane village in the Eastern Cape gathered to watch the live screening of Nelson Mandela's funeral service together on Sunday.

Madiba, South Africa's first democratically elected president, passed on last week on Thursday 5 December at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg.

He was 95-years-old.

Mandela was buried in Qunu on Sunday 15 December after 10 days of national mourning.

Villagers waved their hands in the air as images of Nelson Mandela's coffin being taken to the burial site were shown on the big screen.

"He had to take the long walk to freedom. The long walk to his grave is a symbol of the journey that he took."

They came from different villages to watch the live broadcast.

"We have lost our hero. We're not happy though we are happy because he's played his role and we have to release him."

They said it was important for them to be together and pay their final respects to the father of the nation.

SOWETO

In Soweto, Johannesburg, there was an outpouring of love and tributes for Madiba as he was laid to rest.

Hundreds of people watched the live broadcast of the funeral service on big screens at Orlando Stadium.

One man, who was part of the masses at the stadium, said he was grateful to Mandela for South Africa's freedom and democracy.

"I am celebrating my icon's life."

There was a jovial mood throughout the day as mourners danced, sang and ululated to struggle songs.

Meanwhile, the mourners seated in the stands were entertained by popular gospel singers Deborah Fraser and Sechaba Pali, who sang songs that paid tribute to Madiba.

Mourners said viewing the funeral at a public site was their way of giving Mandela a final tribute.

They said they believe he will always be the true father of the nation.