Home World Africa news Nelson Mandela funeral: South Africa’s parliament in special session to pay tribute

Nelson Mandela funeral: South Africa’s parliament in special session to pay tribute


South Africa’s parliament is meeting in special session to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela.

The country is observing a series of commemorations over the next week, leading up to the funeral on Sunday, December 15.

More than 100 current or former heads of state or government are expected to attend the funeral or Tuesday’s national memorial.

The foreign ministry says that 91 current heads of state or government have confirmed they are coming to South Africa, along with “10 former heads of state, 86 heads of delegations and 75 eminent persons”.

Presidents Barack Obama and Francois Hollande along with UK’s PM David Cameron will be among those attending Tuesday’s memorial.


Three former US presidents, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, will also be there.

On Saturday, Cuban state media announced that President Raul Castro would be one of those attending Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

South Africa's parliament is meeting in special session to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela

South Africa’s parliament is meeting in special session to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela

Under Raul Castro’s brother Fidel, Cuba was a staunch critic of apartheid, and Nelson Mandela had expressed gratitude for his support.

Tuesday’s memorial service is likely to be one of the biggest such gatherings of international dignitaries in recent years.

Among those on the list are UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, German President Joachim Gauck, EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Crown Prince Felipe of Spain.

World leaders, global figures and celebrities will join 95,000 ordinary South Africans at the memorial service at FNB stadium in Soweto, where Nelson Mandela made his final major public appearance during the 2010 football World Cup.

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and India’s President Pranab Mukherjee will also be coming.

Leading celebrities in the anti-apartheid movement Peter Gabriel and Bono are also expected to attend.

Nelson Mandela’s body will lie in state in Pretoria on the following three days and he will be given a state funeral on Sunday.

A smaller number of international dignitaries including the Prince of Wales will attend the burial in the Eastern Cape village of Qunu, where the late president grew up.

Mourners have gathered every day outside Nelson Mandela’s house in the Johannesburg suburb of Houghton.

Well wishers have lit candles there and laid thousands of wreaths of flowers at Nelson Mandela’s old home in Soweto.

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Diane is a perfectionist. She enjoys searching the internet for the hottest events from around the world and writing an article about it. The details matter to her, so she makes sure the information is easy to read and understand. She likes traveling and history, especially ancient history. Being a very sociable person she has a blast having barbeque with family and friends.