Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
A photo of former South African president, late Nelson Mandela, right, is displayed during a remembrance ceremony in Qunu, South Africa, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. Mandela, 95, anti-apartheid icon and former South African president, has died. The Nobel Peace Prize winner's death was announced by South African President Jacob Zuma on Thursday. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)
Massive crowds, world leaders to honor Mandela
First Published Dec 07 2013 03:19 pm • Last Updated Dec 07 2013 03:19 pm

JOHANNESBURG • South Africa expects overwhelming crowds and a host of world leaders to attend services honoring late President Nelson Mandela, though with the ceremonies only days away officials acknowledged Saturday they couldn’t offer any specifics yet.

Across the country, South Africans already have begun honoring Mandela, who died Thursday at age 95, and officials expect tens of thousands to participate in next week’s official services.

Photos
Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

In their first statement since Mandela’s death, his family said they had "lost a great man," just as they had when South Africa’s apartheid government imprisoned him for decades.

"The pillar of our family is gone, just as he was away during that 27 painful years of imprisonment, but in our hearts and souls he will always be with us," said the statement, read by family spokesman Lt. Gen. Themba Templeton Matanzima.

"His spirit endures. As a family we commit ourselves to uphold and be guided by the values he lived for and was prepared to die for," he said.

Official services honoring Mandela begin Tuesday with a major memorial planned at FNB Stadium on the edge of Johannesburg’s Soweto township. Government Minister Collins Chabane told journalists Saturday he expects massive crowds far beyond what the stadium’s normal 95,000-person capacity could hold. He said there would be "overflow" areas set up.

"We can’t tell people not to come," he said.

He couldn’t offer specifics about how crowds would arrive there with all roads to the venue closed by police or who would serve as a master of ceremonies.

Those planning Mandela’s funeral include the former president’s family, the federal government, the military and the African National Congress political party. Despite some prior planning by authorities as Mandela grew frail and suffered bouts of hospitalization in recent years, many of the details remain up in the air.

It’s unclear which ceremony world leaders will attend, either Tuesday’s stadium memorial or the planned funeral service Dec. 15 in Qunu, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s rural hometown in Eastern Cape Province. Chabane said South African officials briefed diplomats Saturday about the arrangements, though they would leave it to foreign governments to say which event their leaders would attend.


story continues below
story continues below

U.S. President Barack Obama and his two predecessors, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, already have indicated they will attend services in South Africa honoring Mandela. Many other world leaders also are expected.

Mandela’s body won’t be at the stadium event Tuesday, Chabane said. His body will rest in state Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, the seat of government power in South Africa’s capital.

Mourners will walk up the steps into the Union Buildings’ amphitheater and file past Mandela’s body, Chabane said. Authorities blocked visitors from visiting the amphitheater Saturday. Chabane said he didn’t know yet whether it would be an open- or closed-casket viewing.

Mandela’s body will be held overnight those days at a military hospital on Pretoria’s outskirts, Chabane said. He called on residents to line the streets to serve as an honor guard as Mandela’s body will pass twice each day.

ANC members will hold a ceremony on Dec. 14 at Waterkloof Air Force Base near Pretoria before Mandela’s body is flown to Qunu from there, Chabane said.

Sunday has been declared a national day of prayer and reflection over Mandela’s death. On Monday, South Africa’s two houses of parliament will hold special sessions to pay tribute to Mandela, the country’s first black and democratically-elected president.

Tributes to the former anti-apartheid activist continued to pour in from around the globe. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who has been in power since his country’s independence from Britain in 1980 and supported Mandela’s ANC during its struggle against the apartheid regime, paid his first public tribute to the deceased leader.

Despite himself being accused by critics of increasingly authoritarian rule, Mugabe praised Mandela as a champion of democracy and "an unflinching fighter for justice."

"Mr. Nelson Mandela’s renowned and illustrious political life will forever remain a beacon of excellence," Zimbabwe’s state-run newspaper The Herald quoted Mugabe as saying.

Hundreds gathered Saturday at Mandela’s house in Houghton. They sang liberation songs and walked past expansive, stately homes carrying bundles of flowers and images of Mandela.

Precious Ncayiyana, a pharmacist, carried a painting of Mandela made from old newspaper clippings about him. His left eye bore the number 46664, Mandela’s former inmate number, while his right eye said Madiba, his clan name.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.