News / Africa

ANC Grateful for Global Presence at Mandela Memorial Service

U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the crowd during a memorial service for Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the crowd during a memorial service for Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Peter Clottey
The spokesman for South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) says the party is grateful to the heads of state and government as well as people around the world who showed their support during the memorial service of anti-apartheid icon, Nelson Mandela.

Jackson Mthembu said the large number of leaders in attendance shows the impact former president Nelson Mandela had on South Africa and the entire world. 

“We were very honored and also humbled by the world coming and gracing this memorial service of Madiba,” said Mthembu. “[They] all came to pay their respect to Madiba because of what he represented: freedom, social justice, a caring world,…but also South Africa that is at peace with itself, and South Africa that can even get better.”

More than 80 heads of state and government attended the memorial ceremony, including U.S. President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe.

“South Africans have appreciated the presence of the world leaders in their midst as we celebrate and mourn a life well lived,” said Mthembu.

Tuesday was a work day in South Africa, but many fully participated in one way or another to paying their respects to their former leader, said Mthembu.          

The remains of Mandela are scheduled to lie in state at the seat of government, the Union Buildings in Pretoria Wednesday. Mthembu said the week’s memorial events were well planned to meet the expectations of Mandela’s family and of all South Africans.

“The other services that are planned including the laying of our [former] president in state starting [Tuesday] up to Friday, we think information has been given to the South African public, and also to our national partners and other governments of the world about all these activities,” said Mthembu. 

However the ANC leader condemned a section of the public who booed President Jacob Zuma as he delivered his tribute to Mandela at the memorial service. Mthembu said the ANC and other opposition parties are displeased with the booing, which he said was disrespectful.

“We don’t know what was behind these behaviors that are alien, because as South Africans we would have expected all of us to treat this activity of Madiba with respect and give it the dignity it deserves,” said Mthembu. “I can tell you that all South Africans have frowned [upon] this alien behavior. But again these behaviors were not able to disrupt the service.”

Some political observers say President Zuma was booed because of his government’s failure to keep its promises and by recent accusations that Zuma spent $200 million in taxpayer money to renovate his home. But, Mthembu said it was inappropriate for people to disrespect Mandela’s memorial service in spite of their displeasure with the current president.

“The platform can’t be right for that,” said Mthembu. “This was supposed to be a solemn send off for Madiba. All of us had gathered there just for that one purpose, nothing and nothing else. So anybody who came with some political program that wanted to undermine this [memorial service] is totally condemned.  All South Africans are condemning that behavior.”
Clottey interview with Jackson Mthembu, ANC spokesman
Clottey interview with Jackson Mthembu, ANC spokesmani
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Eaglekiss
December 11, 2013 6:24 PM

I hate it that so many people are jumping in to share the glory and the limelight reserved for the dead hero. He fought against Apartheid, which was good. But it was his compromise with the whites that was better, which brought about peace and stability for both whites and blacks! What if he had persisted in following
Communism or Islamic terrorism? He would have been put to death like Arafat of Palestine or disgraced like Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam! He was converted by the smart whites in the same way God converted Paul on the Damascus Road! It was lucky for him and his people that the whites had been very patient with him: 27 years of reasoning and persuasion! Finally he was convinced when he witnessed the collapse and bankrupcy of communism and terrorism, the ideals and strategy he had been following. So what is much ado about this man?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid