Monday, November 29, 1999

Nelson Mandela attends funeral of great-grandchild

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Nelson Mandela joined hundreds of mourners on Thursday at the funeral of the former South African president's great-granddaughter who was killed in car crash last week.The death of 13-year-old Zenani Mandela forced Mandela to cancel plans to attend the opening game of the Soccer World Cup last Friday, dampening the mood at the start of global sports spectacle.Dressed in a black coat, Mandela, 91, arrived as the funeral was under way and walked slowly and with assistance to a front row seat accompanied by his wife Graca Machel.Schoolfriends and family of Zenani entered a Johannesburg Methodist chapel, carrying flower baskets before condolences messages were read out that described her as a "natural born star" who loved music.Zenani, killed two days after her 13th birthday, was one of Mandela's nine great-grandchildren. She died when the car she was travelling in after the official World Cup Kick-Off concert was involved in an accident.Supermodel Naomi Campbell said in a video message that she considered Zenani a goddaughter and remembered playing with the child."I was truly blessed to have been able to say that we walked and laughed and got to play dress-up," she said. "She will remain in my heart forever."Zenani was buried on Thursday morning.(Reporting by Griffin Shea; Writing by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Marius Bosch)

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