independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

World leaders to fly in for funeral

President Barack Obama pauses as he speak about the death of Nelson Mandela (AP)

South Africa is preparing for the arrival of a flood of world leaders for the funeral and memorial services for former president Nelson Mandela.

Among those who have already indicated that they will be travelling to South Africa to honour the anti-apartheid hero, who died at his Johannesburg home at the age of 95 on Thursday night, are US President Barack Obama and his two predecessors, George W Bush and Bill Clinton.

Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff will also be among the guests.

A week of mourning, with several events planned, has been declared by the government.

Mr Mandela will be buried in his rural hometown in the Eastern Cape on Sunday December 15.

AP

Tomorrow has been declared a national day of prayer and reflection, while a national memorial service is scheduled to be held at a Johannesburg stadium where Mr Mandela made his last public appearance for the closing ceremony of the 2010 football World Cup.

Official memorial services will also be held in all of South Africa's provinces and regions over the next week.

Mr Mandela's body will lie in state from Wednesday until Friday at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, the capital.

The state airline, South African Airways, has laid on special charter flights to ferry invited dignitaries to the funeral.

The government has announced that a special sitting of the two houses of parliament - the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces - will be held on Monday to pay tribute to Mr Mandela, the country's first black and democratically-elected president.

AP

Press Association

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