A statue of Nelson Mandela has been unveiled in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria, a day after he was buried.
The 30ft bronze statue has been erected at the Union Buildings, South Africa’s government headquarters.
The statue, with Nelson Mandela’s hands reaching outward, was intended to show that he had embraced the whole nation, President Jacob Zuma said.
Nelson Mandela was given a state funeral at his ancestral home on Sunday.
African National Congress (ANC) members, veterans of the fight against apartheid and foreign dignitaries – including several African presidents and the Prince of Wales – attended the funeral ceremony in the village of Qunu in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province.
The funeral ceremony followed a 10-day period of mourning and celebrating Nelson Mandela’s life after his death at the age of 95.
The national flag was raised on Monday from its half-mast position, and was flying as normal.
Nelson Mandela statue has been erected at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Nelson Mandela statue was unveiled on South Africa’s Day of Reconciliation, a public holiday which marks the end of racial conflict in South Africa.
“Former President Mandela is associated with the promotion of reconciliation which is why the day was chosen for the unveiling,” said the government.
During white minority rule, December 16 was called the Day of Covenant to honor the victory of Afrikaners over a Zulu army in an 1838 clash known as the Battle of Blood River.
More than a century later, on December 16, 1961, Nelson Mandela launched an armed group, Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), to fight South Africa’s white minority rule.
It led to his arrest and imprisonment for 27 years.
After he became president in 1994 at the end of minority rule, Nelson Mandela used the day to urge South Africans to set aside their differences and to unite.
During his address at the funeral on Sunday, Jacob Zuma pledged to build on Nelson Mandela’s legacy.
“As your journey ends today, ours must continue in earnest… South Africa will continue to rise because we dare not fail you,” Jacob Zuma said.
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
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.
Flags were lowered to half mast and people across South Africa commemorated Nelson Mandela with song, tears and prayers on Friday.
Meanwhile as the South African government prepared funeral ceremonies that will draw leaders and other dignitaries from around the globe.
A black SUV-type vehicle containing Nelson Mandela’s coffin, draped in South Africa’s flag, pulled away from his home after midnight, escorted by military motorcycle outriders, to take the body to a military morgue in Pretoria, the capital.
People across South Africa commemorated Nelson Mandela with song, tears and prayers
Many South Africans heard the news of his death, which was announced just before midnight, upon waking Friday, and they flocked to his home in Johannesburg’s leafy Houghton neighborhood.
In a church service in Cape Town, retired archbishop Desmond Tutu said Nelson Mandela, who became South Africa’s first black president, would want South Africans themselves to be his “memorial” by adhering to the values of unity and democracy that he embodied.
“All of us here in many ways amazed the world, a world that was expecting us to be devastated by a racial conflagration,” Desmond Tutu said, recalling how Nelson Mandela helped unite South Africa as it dismantled apartheid, the cruel system of white rule, and prepared for all-race elections in 1994.
Nelson Mandela, also known by his clan name Madiba, was a “very human person” with a sense of humor who took interest in people around him, said Frederik Willem de Klerk, South Africa’s last apartheid-era president. The two men negotiated the end of apartheid, finding common cause in often tense circumstances, and shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
In summarizing Nelson Mandela’s legacy, F.W. de Klerk told eNCA television: “Never and never again should there be in South Africa the suppression of anyone by another.”
Nelson Mandela turns 95 while in hospital in Pretoria, as events take place around the world and in South Africa in his honor.
South Africans are being urged to match the former president and anti-apartheid leader’s 67 years of public service with 67 minutes of charitable acts.
Nelson Mandela, who is in critical but stable condition with a recurring lung infection, entered hospital on June 8.
President Jacob Zuma said his health was “steadily improving”.
“We are proud to call this international icon our own as South Africans and wish him good health,” Jacob Zuma said in a statement.
“We thank all our people for supporting Madiba throughout the hospitalization with undying love and compassion,” he said, referring to Nelson Mandela’s clan name.
Nelson Mandela’s daughter, Zindzi, said on Wednesday he had made “dramatic progress”, and that she had found him watching television with headphones on and communicating with his eyes and hands when she visited him this week.
“I should think he will be going home anytime soon,” she told the UK’s Sky News television.
Nelson Mandela’s birthday is also Nelson Mandela International Day, a day declared by the UN as a way to recognize the Nobel Prize winner’s contribution to reconciliation.
The former statesman is revered across the world for his role in ending apartheid in South Africa. He went on to become the first black president in the country’s first all-race elections in 1994.
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) said that on this Mandela Day homage was being paid to 95 years of “life well-lived”, dedicated to the liberation of South Africans and people all over the world.
Nelson Mandela turns 95 while in hospital in Pretoria, as events take place around the world and in South Africa in his honor
The day kicked off with millions of school children across South Africa singing Happy Birthday to Nelson Mandela.
To mark the former statesman’s 67 years as a lawyer, activist, prisoner and president, volunteers will spend 67 minutes renovating schools and orphanages, cleaning hospitals and distributing food to the poor.
President Jacob Zuma plans to mark the occasion by overseeing the donation of houses to poor white families in the Pretoria area.
The ANC said that on this Mandela Day homage was being paid to 95 years of life well lived, dedicated to the liberation of South Africans and people all over the world.
Events are also taking place internationally, with an image of a large Mandela painting by South African artist Paul Blomkamp featured in New York’s Times Square.
British entrepreneur Richard Branson has pledged 67 minutes of community service on Thursday to “make the world a better place, one small step at a time”, speaking in a recorded message.
Meanwhile, concerts are planned later this week in the Australian city of Melbourne, featuring local and African artists.
His illness gives extra poignancy to this year’s Mandela Day, correspondents say.
For South Africans, the best birthday present for Nelson Mandela would be to recover and be among the people who love him most.
As the family and millions around the country reflect the role Nelson Mandela played in South Africa, there will be a quiet prayer that he will return home soon.
Winnie Mandela told a local radio station her former husband’s 95th birthday was “a gift not only to the family… but to the nation”.
She rejected the “prophets of doom” who have warned of chaos in South Africa when Nelson Mandela dies.
“The country will solidify and come together,” she told Radio 702.
Nelson Mandela’s third wife, Graca Machel, said last Friday that she was “less anxious” about his health than before and that he was continuing to respond well to treatment.
Thursday also is the 15th anniversary of the couple’s marriage.
Ahead of the anniversary, Nelson Mandela’s close friend and lawyer George Bizos described them as “a loving couple”, the AFP news agency reports.