South Africa will have a national week of mourning until the burial of its former president Nelson Mandela on Sunday, 15 December 2013. President Jacob Zuma has announced that the country’s founding father, who died on Thursday night, will be laid to rest at his beloved Qunu home.
A sombre and drawn Zuma told a media briefing on Friday afternoon that Madiba would be accorded a state funeral. “We should all work together to organise the most befitting funeral for this outstanding son of our country and the father of our young nation,” Zuma said.
The government has declared Sunday, 8 December as a national day of prayer and reflection. Zuma called the nation to gather in halls, churches, mosques, temples, synagogues and in their homes to pray and reflect on Madiba’s life and contribution to South Africa and the world.
An official memorial service will be held on Tuesday, 10 December at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg. Mandela’s remains will then lie in state at the seat of government, the Union Buildings in Pretoria from 11 to 13 December. During these days, official memorial services will also be held in all provinces and regions, Zuma said.
“Once again we thank all South Africans for the dignity, respect and the support that has been provided to the Mandela family, from the period of Madiba’s illness to his eventual passing.
“The outpouring of love that we experienced locally and abroad was unprecedented. It demonstrates the calibre of leader that was Madiba,” the president said.
Further details about the memorial and funeral services will be announced by government once arrangements are worked out by Mandela’s family, the ANC and the state. Dozens of world leaders are expected to arrive in South Africa over the next few days to attend the services. DM
Photo by Greg Marinovich.