Nelson Mandela’s burial date fixed

The anti-apartheid icon will be buried in his ancestral home.


Nelson Mandela was in hospital for nearly three months
Nelson Mandela was in hospital for nearly three months

South Africa’s former president and respected anti-apartheid leader, Nelson Mandela, who passed away Thursday night, will be buried on Sunday, December 15, President Jacob Zuma announced Friday afternoon.

Mr. Zuma said the revered leader, famed for unifying South Africa and forgiving his white tormentors, will be buried in his ancestral home in Qunu, Eastern Cape, after a memorial service at Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium on December 10.

Mandela will be buried in a family plot where three of his children and other close family members are buried.

At a news conference on Friday afternoon, Mr. Zuma outlined a week of events to mourn the former president whose death has drawn an unprecedented outpouring of emotion from across the world, with global leaders paying their respect.

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Sunday will be an official day of prayer and reflection with special religious services, he said.

On Tuesday, a service of national mourning will be held at the 95,000-seater Johannesburg stadium, the venue for the 2010 FIFA World Cup final.

The former president’s body will lie in state from Wednesday, December 11, to Friday, December 13, at the Union Buildings in the capital, Pretoria.

“During these days, official memorial services will also be held in all provinces and regions,” he said.

President Zuma said Mr. Mandela would have a state funeral and would finally be laid to rest on December 15 in Qunu, the Eastern Cape.

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More details about official arrangements for the funeral, including those for visiting foreign dignitaries, would be clarified at a later stage, a Minister in the Presidency, Collins Chabane, said.

Mr. Mandela, who fought against racial discrimination and white minority rule for decades, and was imprisoned for 27 years before becoming South Africa’s first black president, died Thursday at the age of 95.

He died after a prolonged battle with lung infection having been hospitalised on June 8 with a recurring lung ailment he developed while serving his jail term at the notorious Robben Island jail. He was eventually discharged from hospital in September and transported to his home in Houghton, on the suburb of Johannesburg where he continued to be under intensive care.‬

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