AFRICAN heads of state joined thousands of Zimbabweans at a state funeral for Zimbabwe’s founding president, Robert Mugabe, whose burial has been delayed for at least a month until a special mausoleum can be built for his remains.

The service and viewing of the body of Mugabe, who died last week in Singapore at age 95, was at the National Sports Stadium in the capital, Harare.

It came following the announcement by the Mugabe family and President Emmerson Mnangagwa that his burial will be postponed until a new resting place for his body can be constructed at the national Heroes’ Acre monument.

The announcement on Friday evening is the latest turn in a dramatic wrangle between his family and Mnangagwa, a once-trusted deputy who helped oust Mugabe from power.

More than 10 African leaders and several former presidents spoke in praise of Mugabe at the service in the Chinese-built stadium, which attracted a crowd filling about 30% of its 60,000 capacity.

Most of those attending were supporters of Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party.

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa drew boos from the crowd, as a result of the recent attacks in Johannesburg on foreigners, including Zimbabweans.

An official pleaded with the stadium crowd to let him speak. Ramaphosa apologised for the attacks.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta described Mugabe as “a great icon of African liberation” and “a visionary leader and relentless champion of African dignity”.

Mnangagwa presided over the ceremony, attended by Mugabe’s widow Grace, who wore a black veil.