"Since Mandela's death, his wife Graca Machel and ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela have been wearing black and have not been allowed to make public appearances as a sign of mourning."
Johannesburg, June 15 - The six-month mourning period declared for former South African president Nelson Mandela, who died of lung disease last December aged 95, ended Sunday.

Family members gathered in Qunu, Eastern Cape Province to mark the end of the mourning period six months after Mandela was buried Dec 15, Xinhua reported. A cleansing ceremony was performed in Qunu, where Mandela was buried.

Traditional beet and meat were served during the ceremony, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) reported.

Elders of the family addressed the gathering, paying tribute to Mandela for his outstanding achievements.

Since Mandela's death, his wife Graca Machel and ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela have been wearing black and have not been allowed to make public appearances as a sign of mourning.

Mandela came from the Xhosa tribe. According to Xhosa tradition, the mourning period takes 12 months as a sign of respect for the dead. But in Mandela's case, it was reportedly agreed to shorten the mourning period to six months.


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