The memorial service for the former South African President Nelson Mandela is set to begin at 11am local time in Johannesburg. Almost 100 heads of state from all over the world are expected to attend the service, which will be held at the 95,000-capacity FNB Stadium - the site of his last public appearance. Among the attendees will be current US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and their wives, Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao, and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
The service will be part of a week-long event remembering the 95-year-old leader who passed away last Thursday. After the service, his body will be placed at the Union Buildings in South Africa’s capital of Pretoria, where the public will be able to pay their respects until Friday, December 13. At the funeral two days later, Mandela will be buried in his rural hometown of Qunu.
The funeral on Sunday will symbolise an international unity not seen before. A structure is being specially built on Mandela’s property for the burial service. Those expected to deliver words of tribute at the funeral include the former South African President’s four grandchildren, current South African President Jacob Zuma, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, President Obama, Presidents from Brazil, Namibia, India, and Cuba, and Chinese Vice President Yuanchao.
More on Mandela:
- South Africa’s first black president, and anti-apartheid icon, Nelson Mandela passed away in Johannesburg at the age of 95
- YP editor Susan, a proud South African, pens a letter on the impact the late Nelson Mandela had on her life and her country.
- People all over the world react to Mandela's death on social media
- Meet Nelson Mandela