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South Africa prepares for week of events to mark Mandela's life

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South Africa prepares for week of events to mark Mandela's life


People in South Africa are gearing up for a week of events to mark the passing of the man considered to be the father of the nation.

Outside Nelson Mandela’s home in Houghton, Johannesburg crowds have continued to gather to say prayers and pay tribute.

President Zuma said the next week would be spent mourning the death of the country’s first black president, but also celebrating a life well lived.

For the second night since his death on Thursday, mourners continued to pay their respects – outside his home where he died, his former home in Soweto, and in many other public places.

The weekend is expected to bring still more people out onto the streets.

Sunday will see an official day of reflection and prayer and special religious services will be held in his honour.

Next week’s events include a large outdoor memorial service in a Soweto stadium on Tuesday, before Mandela’s body lies in state in Pretoria.

His funeral will be held a week on Sunday; he will be buried in the village of Qunu where he grew up and where his family still have a home.

The final farewell is expected to be one of the largest state funerals since that of Winston Churchill in 1965 with heads of state from around the world expected to attend.

However, the burial will be in keeping with Xhosa traditions and be a largely family affair. Mandela is said to have chosen his own resting place, on a hill overlooking the fields where he tended cattle as a boy, again in keeping with Xhosa custom that burial is itself a homecoming.

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