— Mourners in South Africa are expected to crowd into a football stadium Tuesday for the main public memorial service for former president and anti-apartheid leader, Nelson Mandela, who died last week at age 95.
It's a gloomy day in Johannesburg. Workers are preparing for the crowds of mourners expected to converge here Tuesday to say goodbye to the late president, Nelson Mandela.
Security is being tightened around the stadium where Mandela made his last public appearance, three years ago during the World Cup football championship.
Several thousand journalists from around the world also are attending what is expected to be one of the largest funerals in South African history.
Onseziwe Dokolwana, a student of computer science, came with some friends to reflect on the Mandela heritage. “He [Mandela] played a big role in uniting the black and white people. Now we can interact with people freely without any fear that they are going to pull [arrest] you or what.”
Millions agree. That is why officials, wary of overwhelmingly large crowds, are urging people to avoid the stadium and remember Mandela at places closer to their homes.
Mourners sing outside the home of Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Dec. 9, 2013.
People leave messages for Nelson Mandela on a memorial site adorned with South African flags on trees, in Rosebank, an affluent district of Johannesburg, Dec. 9, 2013.
A painting of Nelson Mandela surrounded by Martin Luther King, Mohandas Gandhi, John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and Barack Obama is fixed on top of flowers outside his home in Johannesburg, Dec. 9, 2013.
Nearly two old boy Kiran rests on a teddy bear in the flowers laying in front of the house of Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Dec. 9, 2013.
A man reaches to for his daughter held by her mother, while workers line up outside the FNB stadium where the memorial service for Nelson Mandela will take place on Tuesday, Johannesburg, Dec. 9, 2013.
Workers line up outside the FNB stadium where the memorial service for South Africa President Nelson Mandela will take place on Tuesday, Johannesburg, Dec. 9, 2013.
The face of Nelson Mandela and his clan name Madiba is projected onto the face of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa Dec. 8, 2013.