South Africans celebrate Mandela’s life

South Africans celebrate Mandela’s life

South Africans celebrate Mandela’s life

Written by Staff Writer

07 Dec, 2013 | 7:51 am

South Africans continue to gather in Johannesburg and Soweto to pay tribute to their former leader, Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday aged 95.

Crowds have been remembering his legacy, dancing and singing in front of Mandela’s former home in Soweto.

He is to be accorded a state funeral on Sunday 15 December, President Jacob Zuma announced.

Mandela spent 27 years in jail before becoming South Africa’s first black president in 1994.His administration replaced the racist white-minority regime that had enforced segregation of black and white people in a policy known as apartheid.  Mandela went on to become one of the world’s most respected statesmen.

South Africans across the country have been saying prayers, singing anti-apartheid songs and lighting candles.Hundreds are gathered outside Mandela’s home in Johannesburg’s northern suburb of Houghton, where he died. They have been sharing memories of the former leader, recounting how they drew inspiration from his life.

A stage has been erected near the house, from where priests have led the crowd in prayers.One of his grandsons. Mbuso Mandela, laid wreaths in his grandfather’s memory. President Zuma visited the house in the early afternoon to pay his respects.

At a news conference on Friday afternoon,  Zuma outlined a week of events to mourn the former president. Sunday will be an official day of prayer and reflection with special religious services

On Tuesday, a service of national mourning will be held at a 95,000-seater stadium on the outskirts of Johannesburg.   Mandela’s body will lie in state from Wednesday to Friday in the capital, Pretoria

Next Sunday’s funeral will be held in the village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape, where  Mandela grew up. South African Airways has announced that it will provide extra flights to Qunu for mourners.

Hundreds have attended an interfaith remembrance service outside Cape Town’s City Hall. The Johannesburg stock exchange suspended operations for five minutes on Friday as a mark of respect.

-BBC

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