JOHANNESBURG: Nelson Mandela has made a rare public appearance to attend funeral services for his 13-year-old greatgranddaughter, whose death in a car accident on June 11 brought a sad start to the World Cup.The frail 91-year-old hero of South Africa’s freedom struggle wore a long black overcoat to fend off the winter chill. A pink corsage was pinned to his lapel.Emerging from a black limousine, he was transferred to a golf cart that ferried him to the brick chapel of the school once attended by Zenani Mandela. Relatives helped him as he took small steps to a front pew.He sat sombrely during the farewell on Thursday, occasionally smiling when anyone recalled moments of joy and laughter in Zenani’s short life.The chapel of St Stithian’s College was crowded with hundreds of mourners, including classmates dressed in their blue uniforms. The song Lean on Me was played while a slideshow displayed images of Zenani with her family and friends.She was an ”old soul who knew things even adults didn’t know”, her grandfather, Oupa Seakamela, said. Zenani, the greatgranddaughter of Mandela and his second wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, died in a single-car accident while returning from a kick-off concert for the soccer tournament.A close family friend, Sizwe Mankazana, 23, was the driver, and police suspect him of drunken driving and culpable homicide. His appearance in court has been adjourned until July 26 as an investigation continues.Mr Mankazana is the son of Zwelakhe Mankazana, who is in a relationship with Zenani Mandela Dlamini, a daughter of Mr Mandela and the great aunt of her deceased namesake.The young man’s involvement deepens the tragedy. A statement from the Nelson Mandela Foundation said Sizwe Mankazana was ”considered part of the Mandela family”.The funeral service, lasting for several hours, followed an earlier private burial. Mr Mandela left the service early. Several speakers praised Zenani and expressed their grief. A message from Zenani’s mother, Zoleka Mandela-Seakamela, to her daughter was read aloud.It said she wished she had indulged Zenani more, letting her sleep in late and wear make-up. ”I should have given you more hugs, more kisses,” she wrote.”If I did all this, would you come back to me, if only for a few seconds?”Zenani is said to have once told her family that she was so content that ”if I die, I will die happy”.Telegraph, London, with agencies
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