Nelson Mandela Mourned Around The World

11:33 AM, Dec 6, 2013   |    comments
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Flags flew at half-staff Friday as South Africa, in deep mourning, prepared for a week of reflection, prayer and remembrance before Nelson Mandela is laid to rest in a state funeral next Sunday in the Eastern Cape village of Qunu.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu led a prayer service in Mandela's memory on Friday at St. George's Cathedral in Cape Town.

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange paused trading at 11 a.m. to mark the passing of the anti-apartheid leader and former president.

Hours after his death, a black SUV-type vehicle containing his flag-draped coffin pulled away midnight from his home in Johannesburg's leafy Houghton neighborhood, escorted by military motorcycle outriders, to take the body to a military morgue in Pretoria, the capital.

South African President Jacob Zuma said Mandela's body will lie in state at government buildings in Pretoria from Dec. 11, until the burial in the village where he grew up.

As the country mourns, heads of states from around the world, including President Obama, made plans to attend the funeral.

South African Airways said it will provide chartered air transport for invited mourners to the funeral in Eastern Cape province.

Zuma also declared Dec. 8 a "national day of prayer and reflection" for South Africans.

"We call upon all our people to gather in halls, churches, mosques, temples, synagogues, and in their homes for prayer services and meditation, reflecting on the life of Madiba and his contribution to our country and the world," he said.

Mandela, known affectionately as "Madiba," died Thursday at the age of 95.

Deputy President of the African National Congress Cyril Ramaphosa told crowds gathered outside Mandela's home in Houghton that they "are invited to pay your respects at the various places where there will be books of condolences."

A separate memorial service will be held on Dec. 10 at the 100,000-seat FNB soccer stadium, also known as Soccer City, outside Johannesburg.

The respect felt for Mandela throughout the country was in evidence with the flags at half-staff in black townships, in upscale mostly white suburbs and in the country's vast rural grasslands.


Nelson Mandela 1919-2013

F.W. de Klerk, South Africa's last apartheid-era president, described Mandela as a "very human person" with a sense of humor who took interest in people around him.

The two men negotiated the end of apartheid, finding common cause in often tense circumstances, and shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

Summarizing Mandela's legacy, de Klerk paraphrased Mandela's own words on eNCA television: "Never and never again should there be in South Africa the suppression of anyone by another."

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