Mandela’s remains to lie in state as world leaders flock in for Tuesday’s memorial

The Horn Times Newsletter- December 9, 2013
(By Getahune Bekele-Qunu village, South Africa)
 
Nelson MandelaUS president Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and three previous occupants of the white house will join more than 80,000 mourners at the colossal FNB stadium in Soweto-Johannesburg, to pay an impassioned and emotional tribute to the late peace icon Nelson Mandela, the man who forged a new multi-racial South Africa from the discredited remnants of the brutal apartheid rule.
Affectionately called Madiba here in Africa, the gallant freedom fighter was once labeled the instigator of disobedience and listed as terrorist by western powers only to be showered with praises after he dismantled the white minority rule to create the new rainbow nation on the southern tip of Africa.
On Tuesday 10 December 2013, at the massive memorial service, countless A-list and marquee celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Bono and British billionaire Richard Branson will be joined on the podium by more than 60 heads of state including Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Nigerian president Goodluck Jonatan. No accreditation would be needed for the public to attend the memorial.
Nonetheless, to ease congestions and overcrowding at the FNB stadium, the government of South Africa urged the public to use alternative viewpoints or simply go to the three nearby stadiums that are prepared by the city of Johannesburg to watch the historic event live on giant screens without compromising the safety of their families.
In additional news, as part of the week long serious of funeral events and global farewell, the recalled South African parliament is currently holding a special session in Cape Town to honor Madiba, the founding father of this beautiful land of contrasts. President Jacob Zuma used the somber but colorful occasion to appeal to the South African public to unite behind Madiba’s ideals of equality, freedom and justice.
Furthermore, according to the inter-ministerial task force spokesperson Collins Chabane, Mandela’s remains will lie in state for three days from Wednesday 11 December, to Friday 13 December to be viewed by the public in the amphitheater of the union buildings in Pretoria where he was sworn in as president in 1994.
“As we speak, President Mandela’s body is being prepared by the military health service of the SA National Defense Force to lie in state.” Chabane said.
“There would also be a public procession through the streets of Pretoria on each day that Mandela’s remains were transported between 1-military Hospital and the Union Buildings.” Chabane added inviting mourners to line up those routes and form a public guard of honor for the revered Madiba to ensure that the event is dignified and secured.
However, Chabane said he is not sure whether Mandela’s casket would be open or closed during the parade through the streets.
Next Saturday, Mandela’s remains would be transported to the Eastern Cape village of Qunu, his boyhood village, the final resting place of the great son of Africa.
We will post more stories about the pristine hilltop rural village of Qunu, as we prepare to say goodbye to Madiba.  
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