Madame Mobutu Sese Seko, the wife of the President of Zaire, was buried in Kinshasa on Tuesday (25 October).
Madame Mobutu Sese Seko, the wife of the President of Zaire, was buried in Kinshasa on Tuesday (25 October). She had been suffering from a heart disease and died in a Swiss clinic on October 21st.
SYNOPSIS: The funeral service took place at the Notre Dame Church in Kinshasa. The body had been flown home from Switzerland on Sunday and crowds and troops lined the route as the draped coffin was taken to the church.
President Mobutu led the mourners. These included leaders and representatives of several African states, who had come to pay their respects to the women often described as the 'First heroine of Zaire'.
Madame Mariem Daddah, wife of the Mauritanian President was among those present as the coffin arrived. Other leaders included Emperor Bokassa of the Central African Empire and the presidents of the Congo and Rwanda.
Madame Mobutu had been in the clinic near Geneva since September the 7th, and the President had been with her most of the time.
From the church, the body was taken to the Gombe Cemetery for burial and there it was met by more people, who had come to mourn the country's first lady.
For President Mobutu, the funeral marked the end of a long period of suffering. Madame Mobutu's heart condition was first diagnosed in 1974, and he had seen her health deteriorate as she continued to carry out her heavy duties. The invasion of Shaba Province earlier this year taxed her severely, but she refused to relax. She travelled long distances by road and helicopter, and played a major part in the distribution of supplies to the Zairean troops.