Mandela’s Memorial: Dozens of World Leaders Descend on Johannesburg’s Soccer City

Of all the remarkable scenes prompted by the death of Nelson Mandela, one of the most astonishing will happen inside the VIP section at his memorial service Tuesday and his funeral Sunday. The full list of foreign heads of states and royalty released by the South African government runs to 84 countries — a literal A to Z of the world — as well as several international organizations. For the host, South Africa, the guest list also throws up some intriguing, and some awkward, seating possibilities for the main memorial on Dec. 10. How will Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s experience of American pressure compare with that of Afghan President Hamid Karzai? Maybe they could open the discussion to a round table with U.S. President Barack Obama, and former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. It might get awkward if the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, finds himself next to the President of Pakistan, Mamnoon Hussain, or the President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, for that matter. And just to be safe, keep Serbia’s President Tomas Tomislav Nikolic away from Croatia’s President Josipovic Ivo, and Sudanese Vice President Bakri Hassan Salih apart from South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit. (MORE: The World Reacts to Nelson Mandela’s Death) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not attending, which makes seating Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Saudi Arabia’s Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz al-Saud perhaps a bit easier. And, hey, just for kicks, why not stick Prince Charles next to Cuba’s Raúl Castro? They’ve got keeping it in the family in common, after all. The attendees for Mandela’s burial Dec. 15 in his home village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape are yet to be confirmed, though that ceremony is expected to be focused on family and friends. Tuesday’s national memorial service, held at the FNB Stadium, also known as Soccer City, outside Johannesburg, is the more global event and its speakers will have a distinctly new world flavor. Apart from Obama, Mukherjee and Castro, they include……..

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World Leaders Mourn the Death of Nelson Mandela

U.S. President Barack Obama addressed the nation Thursday after the death of Nelson Mandela, heralding South Africa’s inspirational freedom fighter: “[Mandela] no longer belongs to us, he belongs to the ages.” “Madiba transformed South Africa and moved all of us,” Obama said. “His journey from a prisoner to a president embodied the promise that human beings — and countries — can change for the better.” Mandela’s achievement was of great personal significance to Obama, who said his first political action was a protest against apartheid. “The day that he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they’re guided by their hopes and not their fears,” Obama said. “I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set, and so long as I live I will do what I can to learn from him.” Obama praised Mandela’s personal modesty, reiterating what the man known affectionately as Madiba himself insisted: “I’m not a saint, unless you think that a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying.” Obama added that the South African leader “set an example that all humanity could aspire to.” “For now, let us pause and give thanks for the fact that Nelson Mandela lived,” the President said. “A man who took history in his hands, and bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice.” Many other world leaders mourned the former South African president as well. South African President Jacob Zuma announced Mandela’s death. “Our people have lost a father. Although we knew this day was going to come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss. His tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world. His humility, passion and humanity, earned him their love,” he said in a televised address. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who was very close with Mandela, said “all of us are living in a better world because of the life of Madiba,” and that he “proved that a big heart is better than a……….

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Mandela Discharged From Hospital, Returns Home

(JOHANNESBURG) — Nelson Mandela was discharged from the hospital on Sunday while still in critical condition and was driven in an ambulance to his Johannesburg home which has been set up to provide intensive care, South Africa’s presidency said. On a sunny but cold morning, an ambulance took the anti-apartheid leader home from the hospital in the capital, Pretoria, where he had been since June 8 for what the government has described as a recurring lung infection. President Jacob Zuma said in a statement Sunday that Mandela’s condition “is at times unstable.” “His home has been reconfigured to allow him to receive intensive care there,” the statement said. “The health care personnel providing care at his home are the very same who provided care to him in hospital. If there are health conditions that warrant another admission to hospital in future, this will be done.” There has been an outpouring of concern in South Africa and around the world for the transformative figure who led the tense shift from white rule to democracy two decades ago in a spirit of reconciliation. Mandela turned 95 on July 18. Zuma had urged South Africans to accept that Mandela had grown old and frail, saying all they could do was pray for him. Well-wishers delivered flowers and messages of support to the hospital where he was being treated, and prayer sessions were held around the country. The government has released few details about Mandela’s condition, citing patient confidentiality. Mandela, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is feted around the world as a towering figure of reconciliation. Despite being jailed for 27 years for his prominent role in opposing white racist rule, Mandela was seemingly free of rancor on his release in 1990, becoming the unifying leader who steered South Africa through a delicate transition to all-race elections that propelled him to the presidency four years later. The United Nations has recognized Mandela’s birthday as an international day to honor themes of activism, democracy and responsibility embodied by the former leader.b.gif?host=world.time.com&blog=19871253&post=100963&subd=timeglobalspin&ref=&feed=1

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Mandela Could Soon be Discharged, Mbeki Says

(JOHANNESBURG) — A former president of South Africa says he expects Nelson Mandela to soon be discharged from the hospital to recuperate at home. South Africa’s radio broadcaster Eyewitness News reported on Sunday that Thabo Mbeki was speaking at a memorial service Saturday when he predicted that Mandela would be going home. Mandela has been hospitalized for more than five weeks for a recurring lung infection, sparking an outpouring of support in South Africa and internationally. Friends who have visited him say he is on life support in the form of mechanical ventilation. The most recent official update on his health said Mandela was in critical but stable condition. The anti-apartheid hero spent 27 years in prison before becoming South Africa’s first black president in 1994. He turns 95 on Thursday.

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