After ten days of mourning in South Africa, Nelson Mandela’s state funeral will hold on Sunday, December 15.
Before then, from December 11 to 13, the anti-apartheid hero’s body will lie in state in a glass-topped coffin at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, where he was inaugurated as president on May 10, 1994.
It will mark three of the ten days officially assigned as a mourning period for ‘Madiba’ or ‘Tata’ as he was devotedly called, ahead of what is expected to be the one of the biggest funerals in history.Nelson Mandela’s unifying force will be evident in the guest list at his funeral which will include black and white world leaders, TV stars and musicians.
U.S. President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle and their daughters will be joined by all past living U.S. presidents, including Bill Clinton, who knew Mr Mandela well.
Prime Minister David Cameron and Prince Charles are believed to be in line to attend.
Several celebrities who had personal ties to the late great leader, such as Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce and U2 frontman Bono, are also expected to attend the service.
Desmond Tutu, a long-time friend of Mr Mandela and former archbishop of Cape Town is expected to hold the service.
The world’s anti apartheid icon Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela passed away at home in Johannesburg at 8.50pm yesterday and his body was moved to a military hospital in Pretoria this morning, where he is under armed guard.
Many countries including the UK, Nigeria and even the world’s football body FIFA has flown their national flags in half to mourn the late colossus. According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President Goodluck on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, a three day mourning period has been declared during which national flags would be flown at half-mast across the country.
See the statement below:
“President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has declared three days of national mourning for former South African President, Dr. Nelson Mandela who passed away yesterday (on Thursday).
“Flags are to be flown at half-mast across Nigeria during the period and President Jonathan urges all Nigerians to unite in solidarity with the brotherly people of South Africa as they mourn the great liberator, freedom fighter and hero of the black race.
“The President also calls for special prayers in mosques and churches in Nigeria during the period of mourning which begins today, for the peaceful repose of Dr. Mandela’s soul.
“A special inter-denominational memorial service for Dr. Mandela will be held at the State House Chapel on Sunday.”
Read a brief history, and short video of Mandela’s life below:
Born in 1918, Nelson Mandela joined the African National Congress in 1943, as a law student.
He and other ANC leaders campaigned against apartheid (white-only rule).
He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964, but was released in 1990 after 27 years in jail on Robin Island as South Africa began to move away from strict racial segregation.
He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and was elected South Africa’s first black president in 1994. He stepped down after five years in office in 1999.
After leaving office, he became South Africa’s highest-profile ambassador, campaigning against HIV/Aids and helping to secure his country’s right to host the 2010 football World Cup.
He was also involved in peace negotiations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and other countries in Africa and elsewhere.
Download video HERE