News / Africa

World Leaders to Speak at Mandela Memorial

An image of Nelson Mandela is displayed on a digital screen as workers on scaffolding construct a stage ahead of Mandela's national memorial service at First National Bank (FNB) Stadium, also known as Soccer City, in Johannesburg, Dec. 9, 2013.
An image of Nelson Mandela is displayed on a digital screen as workers on scaffolding construct a stage ahead of Mandela's national memorial service at First National Bank (FNB) Stadium, also known as Soccer City, in Johannesburg, Dec. 9, 2013.
VOA News
Leaders from around the world will pay tribute at Tuesday's memorial service for Nelson Mandela, the South African anti-apartheid leader who died last week at the age of 95.
 
South Africa said there has been "unprecedented interest" from world leaders who want to attend the event in Johannesburg, with more than 80 heads of state, members of royalty and high government officials expected.
 
Mandela became the country's first black president in the 1990s after being imprisoned for 27 years for leading the struggle against his country's white apartheid rule.

Leaders who are scheduled to deliver eulogies at the service include President Barack Obama, Cuban President Raul Castro, and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

The event will be held in Johannesburg's main stadium used for the 2010 World Cup football (soccer) finals. Heavy security is planned for the expected crowd of 80,000. The venue is also the place where Mr. Mandela made his last public appearance at the closing ceremony of the first-ever World Cup in Africa.

Along with Obama, the U.S. delegation includes first lady Michelle Obama and former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

George H.W. Bush is the only living former U.S. president who will not attend the event. His spokesman said the 89-year-old Bush is no longer able to travel long distances.

American talk show host Oprah Winfrey and Irish singer-activist Bono, as well as British billionaire Richard Branson are also expected to attend.

Hundreds of bouquets of flowers have been laid on the street outside Mandela's Johannesburg home. His grandson, Mandla Mandela, sang and danced along with other mourners Monday as he approached the gated home to pay his respects.

Mandela's remains will lie in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria -- the official seat of the South African government -- on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The memorials and events will culminate in Mandela's burial on December 15 in his boyhood home village of Qunu.

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs