THE family of ailing icon Nelson Mandela plan to bury him at his peaceful country home and turn it into a shrine for visitors.
A plot for his grave has already been dug in the grounds of his pink villa in the remote area of South Africa where he grew up.
And sources revealed his children are planning to turn it into a permanent memorial so people can pay homage at the tomb of the man who took on his nation’s racist white government and won. Earth-moving equipment has already moved in to build a new road to the homestead in the village of Qunu, in the Eastern Cape.
Shrubs are also being planted and water pipes laid.
The work is initially to cope with the massed relatives, friends and VIPs who will attend the funeral of the 94-year-old. But the new road will make access much easier for vast numbers of people who are expected to come to pay their respects later.
A plot for Mr Mandela, known to South Africans as “Madiba”, had originally been earmarked in his family’s cemetery where his parents lie 400 yards from the villa.
But the burial ground has been deemed “impractical”. A family friend said relatives wanted to accommodate the huge interest there will be in seeing the grave.
Mr Mandela, who spent 27 years in jail, made his main home in Johannesburg but returned to Qunu regularly.
Last night his condition had improved slightly after three weeks in hospital and he was critical but stable.