South African President Jacob Zuma has announced that former president Nelson Mandela will be given a state funeral on Monday 15 December. His body will be laid to rest in the remote village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape province where he spent his early years.
A national day of prayer and reflection will be held on Sunday 8 December.
“We call upon all our people to gather in halls, churches, mosques, temples, synagogues and in their homes to pray and hold prayer services and meditation, reflecting on the life of Madiba and his contribution to our country and the world,” said Zuma.
“We’ll always love Madiba for teaching us that it is possible to overcome hatred and anger in order to build a new nation and a new society. We will spend the week mourning his passing. We will also spend it celebrating a life well lived. A life that we must all emulate – for the betterment of our country and Africa. Long live Madiba. I thank you,” Zuma continued.
Tens of thousands are expected to gather at Soccer City in Soweto for a memorial service on Tuesday 10 December. That’s where Mandela made his last public appearance at the World Cup final in July 2010.
Mandela’s body will then lie in state at the government Union Buildings in Pretoria, the seat of the South African government.