Selfie Service

By DeusExMacintosh

Cameron and Obama "selfie" at Mandela Memorial

Tens of thousands of South Africans have joined dozens of world leaders for the national memorial service for former President Nelson Mandela.

The service was held in front of a vociferous crowd in the FNB stadium in Johannesburg. US President Barack Obama said Mr Mandela was a “giant of history”, describing him as the last great liberator of the 20th Century.

The former South African president died last Thursday, aged 95. The memorial service, which began at about 12:00 (10:00 GMT), lasted about four hours. It was one of the biggest gatherings of international dignitaries in recent years, with more than 100 current or former heads of state or government attending.

There had been fears people would be turned away. But with heavy rain, security and transport issues, and the fact that Tuesday was not declared a national holiday, areas of the 95,000-capacity stadium remained empty.

Introducing the proceedings, the master of ceremonies, Cyril Ramaphosa, said that Mr Mandela’s “long walk is over… and he can finally rest”.

Current South African President Jacob Zuma made the keynote address but was booed in some parts of the ceremony. He said Mr Mandela was “one of a kind… a fearless freedom fighter who refused to allow the brutality of the apartheid state to stand in way of the struggle for the liberation of his people”. Mr Zuma announced he was renaming the Union Buildings in Pretoria, where Mr Mandela will lie in state, as the Mandela Amphitheatre.

Earlier Mr Obama delivered his address, carried on the White House web site, to huge cheers. He said: “It is hard to eulogise any man… how much harder to do so for a giant of history, who moved a nation towards justice.”

He said Nelson Mandela had taught the world the power of action and the power of ideas, and that it had taken a man like Mr Mandela to free not only the prisoner but also the jailer.

BBC News

One Comment

  1. Posted December 12, 2013 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Saw this …sadly the Doge in the title not across the image “Much Obama. Very Selfie. Wow”.
    And Michelle as Grumpy …

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