In front of the modest brick house of his childhood, people in the small village of Nelson Mandela’s formative years have been paying tribute.
In eight days’ time this tiny backwater will be at the centre of the worlds’s attention when Madiba comes home to be laid to rest.
The burial will take place in Qunu. The village will never have seen anything like it.
“We must let our chief go well and rest in peace. He worked for us,” said one village elder.
The atmosphere in Qunu now is nothing like the scenes of mass mourning in the city of Mandela’s death far to the west. Madiba was always one of them, wherever he was. The village’s slow rural rhythms suggest timelessness, as if he had never been away.