12 Dec 2013

The road to Qunu: a journey to Mandela’s resting place

After the lying in state, the focus of mourning will move from urban to rural areas. Follow Channel 4 News as we tweet, blog and report on rural South Africa’s goodbye to Nelson Mandela #TheRoadToQunu

The road to Qunu: outside Frankfurt (Ben de Pear)

Following the Johannesburg memorial service and three days lying in state, on Saturday the body of Nelson Mandela will travel to Mvezo by air, and then on to Qunu, his birthplace and ancestral home.

While urban South Africa, and in particular Johannesburg, has been transformed by the end of apartheid and the breaking down of many of the racial divisions and barriers, most of rural South Africa is as it was, writes Channel 4 News Editor Ben de Pear.

The Road to Qunu

The Channel 4 News team are driving the 550 miles to Qunu from Johannesburg, through the veldt of Mpumalanga and the small towns of the Free State, into the hills and mountains of the Zulu heartland of KwaZulu-Natal, before entering the Eastern Cape – formerly known as the Transkei – one of the homelands allotted to blacks, and still an under-developed and poor region.

In the rural South Africa of the Free State the dorps, or small towns, are still divided between black outskirt townships and white town centres – entrenched economics that are the result of centuries of institutionalised and statutory racism.

Much of KwaZulu-Natal remains as it has been for centuries, as does the Eastern Cape – where little white settlement took place and impoverished and sidelined black communities were left to a subsistence living.

Follow us as we tweet, blog and report on rural South Africa’s goodbye to Nelson Mandela.

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