WORLD

Nelson Mandela death: 91 world leaders head to South Africa to honor titan



More than 90 heads of state are on their way to South Africa for what is expected to be the largest gathering of world leaders in Africa’s history, CNN reports.
It’s a clear sign of what kind of impact Nelson Mandela left on the world.
Mandela, the activist who spent 27 years in prison before becoming his country’s first black president, died Thursday at the age of 95.
U.S. President Barack Obama heads to Johannesburg on Monday for Mandela’s official memorial service, which will take place Tuesday in the city’s soccer stadium. But the 90,000 seats probably won’t be enough to house the many mourners wanting to pay thanks to the great anti-apartheid leader. A state funeral will be held Sunday in Mandela’s ancestral hometown of Qunu in the Eastern Cape province.
At least 91 heads of state and 10 former heads of state have said they’re coming to South Africa this week, government international relations spokesman Clayson Monyela said.
In addition to Obama, former presidents Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton will attend. More than two dozen U.S. lawmakers are also scheduled to attend.
Other guests include the Prince of Wales, British Prime Minister David Cameron and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as well as celebrities such as Bono, Oprah Winfrey and Naomi Campbell.
Out of the public eye, friends who had not seen each other in years have been coming together with Mandela’s family in his home, said Zelda la Grange, Mandela’s longtime personal assistant. Mandela called La Grange his “rock” even though she seemed an unlikely confidante. She was a white Afrikaner and an employee of the former apartheid government.
In her first interview since Mandela’s death, she described the mood in his home to CNN’s Robyn Curnow on Monday. “Obviously there’s sadness in the house,” she said, but also, “People are celebrating Madiba’s life. They are grateful.”
South African President Jacob Zuma, who announced Mandela’s death Thursday, referred to Mandela by his well-known clan name Sunday as he asked churchgoers to remember the former president’s values. “When I say we pray for the nation, (it) is that we should pray for us not to forget some of the values that Madiba stood for, that he fought for, that he sacrificed his life for,” he said. “He stood for freedom. He fought against those who oppressed others. He wanted everyone to be free.”
In a suburb of Pretoria, parishioners said they were grateful for the man who saved them from revenge.
“His presence in our lives meant so much for the Afrikaaner people, allowed them to get rid of their guilt feelings and to participate in the journey that he invited us to join,” Wilhelm Jordaan said. Once again, Mandela has brought the country together.
According to the BBC, South Africa’s parliament was to meet on Monday to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela. The sitting comes at the start of a week of commemorative events before a state funeral on 15 December.
On Sunday, millions took part in a “day of prayer” to remember the country’s first black president.
Mr Mandela’s former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and grandson Mandla are both MPs of the African National Congress but it was unclear whether they would attend. ANC spokesman Moloto Mothapo said: “We hope some members of the Mandela family will be there.” FW de Klerk, South Africa’s last white president, who shared the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize with Mr Mandela, has been invited.
PM Victor Ponta to attend funeral of former President Nelson Mandela, in South Africa
Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta on Tuesday will go to South Africa to attend the national funeral of former President Nelson Mandela, taking place on FNB Stadium of Johannesburg, informs a Government press release, Agerpres informs. He will be accompanied by former President Emil Constantinescu, Mediafax reports.

Related posts

Iohannis expresses appreciation for Romanians living in Spain: You make Romania strong

H. E. Xu Feihong, Chinese Ambassador to Romania: Jointly Opening a New Chapter in China-Romania Friendship, Cooperation, and Common Development

Nine O' Clock

Rembrandt, Movies, Music & Many More

NINE O'CLOCK

Leave a Comment