Rhodes' coffin was massive, consisting as it did of three separate coffins - an outer shell of Matabele teak which enclosed two inner coffins, each made of metal. Attached to the sides of the outer coffin were eight huge handles of beaten brass bearing Rhodes' monogram. These were cast, beaten, finished and delivered for fixing within four days of the order being given, a team of artisans having worked night and day to do the job.
After the funeral service, Rhodes' coffin was put on a special train at Cape Town station - its funeral carriage draped with black velvet and purple silk. Carrying all his closest friends, the train travelled northwards for five days across the entire length of South Africa, and then up to Bulawayo in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). At every significant station along the way, thousands of mourners lined the flower-laden platforms.
After lying in state at Bulawayo, followed by another funeral service there, the coffin was then transported by ox-wagon to Rhodes' final resting place in the Matopo Hills - a special road of more than 25km having been carved through the rocky terrain during the preceding days by a team of about a thousand Matabele. On April 10, Rhodes' coffin was finally embedded at the summit of 'World's View', a huge dome of granite which the local Karanga people refer to as Marindidzimu ('the haunt of the ancestral spirits').
Some years before his death, Rhodes had chanced upon this rock while out riding with his companions. He immediately told them that this was where he wanted to be buried, with his grave facing northwards. 'The peacefulness of it,' Rhodes remarked while standing at the summit, 'the chaotic grandeur of it
all....it brings home to me how very small we all are.'