In Pictures: Smiles and tears for Madiba - Al Jazeera English

In Pictures: Smiles and tears for Madiba

As the eulogies were read, the songs sung, Madiba's farewell suddenly became real.

Azad Essa |

Qunu, South Africa - It was a blazing hot summer's day in Qunu.

The sun baked the soil beneath feet of the hundreds of people who had gathered at the museum overlooking the rolling hills of one the country's most famous abodes.

Here, in front of a giant screen, they watched the funeral of Nelson Mandela play out.

It was a scene of mixed emotions, as it has been over the course of the past week, ever since Madiba passed away, on December 5.

For every person smiling, there was another crying. The only constant here was fixation with which these spectators searched the screen for the tiny details, the reminders of the Madiba they knew and loved.

And as the eulogies were read, the songs sung, Madiba's farewell suddenly became real.

And when the casket reached its final place of rest, the final prayer read, the fighter jets that pierced the skyline brought hundreds to their feet in realisation that the jets that thundered their way across the television set, were above them too.

A silence permeated the air. Madiba was about to leave them forever.

Al Jazeera captures some of the striking images of the day in Qunu.

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