A convoy of cars and buses decked with balloons streamed into Qunu on Saturday as the childhood home of Nelson Mandela hosted a wedding and enjoyed a moment of respite from the deep uncertainty caused by the health of its most celebrated son.

Well-wishers flocked to the celebration within sight of the former president's large house as the bride walked into a crowded church.

A remote and tiny place nestled in a valley in the green hills of the Eastern Cape, Qunu has experienced three weeks of heartache since Mandela was hospitalized. But even as pessimism eased over the imminence of his death, the village was bracing itself for the spotlight when the world finally comes to bid him farewell.