JOHANNESBURG - The memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela on Tuesday is poised to be one of the largest such gatherings in generations with tens of thousands of local mourners and dozens of foreign leaders expected.The Tuesday gathering is part of week-long schedule of events to remember the man South Africans affectionately call Madiba.
South African officials say the normal seating capacity of
Johannesburg's FNB stadium probably won't suffice to accommodate all mourners.
As a result, the government announced Sunday three overflow venues where the event will be broadcast live -- at Ellis Park Stadium, Orlando Stadium and Dobsonville Stadium. Additionally, some 90 screens will be set up across the country to show all planned national events.
Security for the Tuesday event is likely to be tight as the list of presidents, heads of government, royalty and celebrities keeps growing by the hour. Defense Minister Nosivewe Mapisa-Nqakula, who is overseeing security, said 11,000 troops have been deployed. She said a coordinated plan involving the military, the air force and police across the country is in place to control and protect tens-of-thousands of mourners.The South African government said as of Monday some 70 heads of state, government and ministers have confirmed they will be attending the service.
Below is a selection of confirmed attendees.
- U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama as well as former presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. Twenty-six Congressmen will also attend.
- U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his predecessor, Kofi Annan.
- British Prime Minister David Cameron, Prince Charles and Prince William.
- French President Francois Hollande and his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy.
- German President Joachim Gauck.
- Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and three of his predecessors.
- Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Crown Prince Felipe.
- Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and three of her predecessors, including Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
- Indian President Pranab Mukherjee.
- Cuban President Raul Castro.
- Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
- The Netherlands' Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans and King Willem-Alexander.
- Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
- Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Crown Prince Haakon.
- Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout.
- European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
- European Union Council President Herman Van Rompuy.
- Top Vatican official Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana.
- Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak.
- Haiti's Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe.
- Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
- African Union Commission Chair Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini
- Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba.
- Chinese Vice-President Li Yuanchao.
- Nepal's Foreign Minister Madhav Prasad Ghimire.
- Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
- Bangladesh's President Abdul Hamid.
- Former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari and former Irish head of state Mary Robinson will attend as part of the delegation of The Elders, a group of former statesmen which Mandela helped to launch.
- Some of the celebrities scheduled to attend include British entrepreneur Richard Branson, Bono and Peter Gabriel, who brought the idea of The Elders to Mandela.