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Funeral plans for Nelson Mandela

A portrait and flowers laid in memory of Nelson Mandela are pictured in the Sandton district of Johannesburg on December 6, 2013. Mandela died on December 5, aged 95.
CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images

Last Updated Dec 14, 2013 10:04 AM EST

A state funeral will be held for Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader and former president who died Thursday at age 95. Heads of state from around the world are expected to attend, including U.S. President Barack Obama.

The following is the current schedule for events to remember the man South Africans affectionately call Madiba. Specific plans and times are subject to change.


Sunday, December 8: National Day of Prayer and Reflection.


Tuesday, December 10: Soweto Memorial Service.

Mandela's family will meet, either at the former president's home in Johannesburg or in Soweto, and proceed to First National Bank Stadium (also known as Soccer City) in Soweto for a memorial service. The stadium has a capacity greater than 94,000. Giant projection screens will be set up in overflow areas. 

Scheduled speakers included Mandela's grandchildren; South African President Jacob Zuma, offering the keynote address; U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon; U.S. President Barack Obama; Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff; Cuban President Raul Castro; Indian President Pranab Mukherjee; Namibia's President Hifikepunye Pohamba; and Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao. Bishop Ivan Abrams will present the sermon, and the premier of the South African province of Gauteng, Nomvula Mokonyane, will close the service with a vote of thanks. 

The memorial is scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. local time (4:00 a.n. ET). 

Official program: State Memorial Service for the late former President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
(pdf)


Wednesday, December 11: Mandela's body to be moved on gun carriage to Pretoria.

The procession of the former president's remains will begin at Pretoria Central Prison (where Mandela went to jail for the first time in August 1962). His body will be taken on a gun carriage in a full military parade to the Union Buildings, the seat of government for the South African presidency, where he will lie in state for three days.

After a private viewing by the family, visiting heads of state will be invited to view Mandela's remains. The ceremony is not open to the public.


Thursday, December 12 and Friday, December 13: Body lies in state at Union Buildings, Pretoria.

The public will be invited to view Mandela's body at the Union Buildings.


Saturday, December 14: Body moved from Pretoria to Qunu.

Mandela's body will be moved to Waterkloof Air Base (supposedly via a "secret route"), where 1,000 African National Congress dignitaries will pay their respects.

Mandela's wife Graca and 10 elders from Qunu will accompany the body to Umtata (Mthatha) Airport, where it will be transported to his house in Qunu, Mandela's birthplace.

The family will hold an evening vigil. A vigil will also be held at Fort Hare University in the Eastern Cape.


Sunday, December 15: State Funeral, Qunu.

The funeral service will be held in Qunu. Rituals will accompany the procession of the coffin from the Mandela house to the service, to be officiated by Archbishop Tutu.

Following the service, the coffin will be carried uphill to the burial site, followed by prayers and a flyby of military planes.

Mandela's coffin will be lowered into the ground.


Monday, December 16: President Zuma thanks the nation.