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Nelson Mandela Memorial: As It Happened

11000 security men have been deployed for the event.

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha/ Neha Attre

05: 35 pm: South African President Jacob Zuma calls Mandela a fearless freedom fighter

The South African President calls Mandela a fearless freedom fighter and says that his passing has marked an unprecedented outburst of grief all over the world.

06: 35 pm: Obama shakes hand with Cuba’s Raul Castro

The memorial service of Nelson Mandela marked another historic moment that brought together the leaders of two estranged countries – Barack Obama and Raul Castro – who briefly shook hands.

Also Read: Obama, Raul Castro shake hands at Mandela memorial

06: 06 pm: Nelson Mandela was an icon: Pranab Mukherjee

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee says that Mandela was an icon of social change and his uncommon humanness inspired all, while addressing the crowd.

PICS: RIP Nelson Mandela

He further said that it was an honour to confer Mandela with Bharat Ratna in 1990. The Indian President further said Mandela’s life reminds us of the principles of father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi. He added that Mandela acknowledged the influence of Gandhi and Nehru.

05: 35 pm: Obama concludes his speech

Obam concludes his speech by saying that God bless the memory of Nelson Mandela.

5: 32 pm: Mandela makes me want to be a better man, says US President

Obama refers to the South African term ‘Ubuntu’ which means that the idea that captures the idea that humanity is bound together and expressed by caring for each other. He further said that Mandela reminds us that things look impossible until they are done.

He said that Mandela makes him want to be a better man. Obama says that the struggles that South Africa faced set him on a journey that that finds me here today.

05: 30 pm: He was like a giant in history, says Obama

Obama says that Mandela was a giant in history. He also compares Mandela to Abraham Lincoln by saying that once out of jail, he held together the country like Lincoln.

He further said that Mandela led a resistance movement like Mahatma Gandhi.

05: 25 pm: Mandela taught us the power of ideas: Obama

Obama says that Mandela taught us the power of action, ideas. He understood that ideas cannot be contained by prison walls. He also said that Madiba insisted on sharing with us his doubts, fears, miscalculations and victories.

He further says that there will be no one like Nelson Mandela again but young people can make Madiba’s life work as their own.

05: 10 pm: Mandela earned his place in life through struggle and faith: Obama

Madiba resisted being an icon. He shared his doubts, fears, and miscalculations and was a son, husband, father and friend. He is a man who earned his place in life through struggle and faith, says Obama.

We learnt so much from him and can learn from him still. He tells us what is possible not just in pages of history books.

05: 05 pm: Obama remembers Mandela

Obama says that the world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us. His struggle was your struggle. His trial was your trial. It is hard to eulogise any man. To capture words, facts and dates that makes a life.

05: 00 pm: Barack Obama addressing the crowd

US president Barack Obama greets the people and is addressing them now.

04: 35 pm: `Mighty man and his mighty life, Mandela was a hero: UN chief

Referring to South Africa as rainbow nation, UN Chief Ban Ki-moon expressed his feelings metaphorically when he said that just like a rainbow emerges from the rain and the sun, he felt a mix of grief and gratitude for the mighty man.

Hailing him as a hero and a father, Ban Ki-moon said that Mandela hated hatred and injustice and not individuals.

"It is a duty of all of us to keep Mandela`s memory alive in our hearts and our lives," the UN chief said.

04: 30 pm: Loudest cheer of the day as Obama arrives finally

The moment which invoked the loudest cheer yet from the stadium, was when US President Barack Obama was shown on the TV. Obama was seen waving to a hearty crowd, which erupted in an excited cheer. Interestingly, at the same time, Zuma was flashed on TV and the cheering crowd changed its tone to that of boos.

04: 25 pm: We salute you: Mandela`s grandchildren pay tribute

Mandela`s famiy member General Thanduxolo Mandela urged all to uphold the legacy of the great leader after which Madiba`s four grandchildren Mbuso Mandela, Andile Mandela, Zozuko Dlamini and Phumla Mandela took to the podium to pay tribute to him calling him as the great tree that has fallen.

04: 10 pm:`Mandela epitome of sacrifice, wisdom and patience`

Mandela`s family friend and his fellow inmate at Robben island, Andrew Mlangeni, said that the great leader was an inspiration to billions of people and touched many lives.

Reminiscing the times spent together with Mandela at the Robben Island, he said that Madiba "believed in sharing insights and listening to and learning from others". He said that Mandela exuded leadership but not without collective thinking.

He said that Nelson Mandela epitomised the values of sacrifice, wisdom and patience, and created hope when there was none.

"It should be our collective wisdom, conviction and resolve... to uphold the values of Nelson Mandela. God bless Madiba, God bless his soul and may his soul rest in peace."

03: 45 pm: Interfaith prayers begin

The memorial opened with interfaith prayers with Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and Christian leaders praying. Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein starts the prayers, calling South Africa a nation of heroes and Mandela as a biblical Joseph. Next prayer is said by the Hindu leader after which follow the Muslim and Christian prayers.

03: 42 pm: `Madiba- your long walk is over, you can rest now`

Calling Madiba as the man who built the nation, Cyril Ramaphosa said, "We are here to tell Madiba his long walk is over, that he can finally rest, that he can enjoy the view of our beautiful country, a view he discovered when he walked the hills of his birthplace. His long walk is over, but ours is just beginning."

03: 40 pm: `Rains- this is how Mandela would have liked it`

After the anthem, ANC`s Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the crowd. He begins by apologising for the rains, but saying, to the cheer of crowd, that is how Mandela would have liked it.

"I apologise for the rains..We were not able to stop the rain, but this is how Nelson Mandela would have wanted to be sent on. These are blessings."

"In our tradition, when it rains when you are buried, your gods are welcoming you to heaven," he said.

03: 34 pm: National anthem begins

The entire stadium stood up to join the Mass Choir in singing the national anthem.

03: 25 pm: South African President Jacob Zuma arrives, booed by the crowd

As the current South African President Jacob Zuma arrived at the stadium with his wife, the crowds booed and this came just after the loud cheers were made for the arrival of former president Mbeki.

03: 20 pm: Stadium crowd to get denser as people still trickling in

Scores of people huddling beneath their umbrellas were seen arriving at the stadium for the memorial ceremony. The rains, which are otherwise supposed to be auspicious in African culture, have also caused traffic snarls and scores of people who were stuck on the way, are yet to arrive and fill the stadium.

03: 11 pm: Chinese VP Li Yuanchao greeted with a mix of cheer and boos

As the Chinese Vice president Li Yuanchao was introduced from the stage, there was a mixed response from the crowd and other than the usual cheering, boos were also heard, reported the BBC.
China is notorious for its poor human rights record and freedom-stifling policies.

03: 09 pm: Winnie Mandela arrives in the stadium

As Nelson Mandela`s former wife Winnie Mandela arrived at FNB stadium, the cheering crowds broke into chants of "Winnie! Winnie!". As Mandela`s ex-wife Winnie Mandela took her seat, she is seen kissing and embracing Mandela`s widow Graca Machel.
Mandela`s family is already seated in the stadium waiting for the ceremony to begin.

02: 40 pm: Stadium erupts in song, dance but only half-full

Even as the mighty rains poured incessantly, the crowds chanted, sang and dance and the the stadium erupted with the sounds of vuvuzela bringing back memories of 2010 Soccer Cup. However, the rain did affect the numbers, as the stadium was reportedly only half full with large swathes of orange making conspicuos the lesser than expected density of the crowd.

02: 30 pm: Rain pours as crowds chant Madiba

The FNB stadium in Soweto is resounding with the sound of singing crowds, who are immune to the effects of the incessant rains. Despite wet weather, thousands have gathered at the stadium where the memorial services are to start within minutes.

1:30: Nelson Mandela and importance of Dec 10

December 10, i.e, today when Mandela`s memorial services are taking place, holds a special significance. Other than being celebrated as the World Human Rights Day, this is also the date when Mandela had received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo with FW de Klerk in 1993.

Dec 10 is also the day when Mandela had signed the South African Constitution in 1996.

01: 00 pm: US-Iran ties: From phone call to hand-shake?

The Nelson Mandela memorial, which will see dozens of global leaders gathering at the same venue, is also a place where antagonistic leaders might come face to face. Like US President Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro. But the most anticipated is the fact wheter Obama would finally shake hands with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who is also attending the memorial.

Both the leaders missed an earlier chance of meeting at UN Genral Assembly meeting in New York in September, however a 15-minute phone call between Obama and Rouhani made sure that the the prospects of a newly budding relationship between Iran and the US do not get aborted.

Now that a breakthrough nuke deal was reached in November in Geneva talks, the moderate Iranian leader and US President might extend their relationship level from that of a phone call to handshake.

11: 30 am: Barack Obama arrives in South Africa

US President Barack Obama along with wife Michelle Obama arrived in South Africa after a cross-Atlantic flight onboard Air Force One.

Later today, Obama is expected to make a tribute speech at 4:00 am EST.

Besides Obama, those attending Mandela`s memorial are three former US Presidents Jimmy Carter, George Bush and Bill Clinton.

George Bush`s wife Laura Bush and Hilary Clinton too will be paying their final respects to Mandela.

11:20 am: We saw in Mandela a reflection of Mahatma Gandhi: Pranab Mukherjee

Shortly before leaving for Johannesburg where he alog with a high-level delgation attend Nelson mandela memorial service, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee said that "beloved Madiba" commanded great degree of love and respect in India, and "we saw in him a reflection of our own prolonged anti-colonial struggle led by Mahatma Gandhihe".

His life was a living example of human strength and courage in the face of brute force and gross injustice, Pranab said.

"He was the last of the giants who led the world`s struggles against the colonialism and his struggle held special significance for us as we saw in him a reflection of our own prolonged anti-colonial struggle led by Mahatma Gandhi," he said.

10:20 am: 11000 security men for the event

The memorial service will be a one of its kind of gathering in the recent history, with dozens of significant global dignitaries converging upon Johannesburg to pay their final respects to the great leader.

So, the South African got has expanded the capacity of the Soweto stadium to 200,000 from 95000 and also 11000 security men have been deployed for the event.

10:00 am: `Madiba unites even in death`

Offering a tribute to nelson Mandela at a event, Cyril Ramaphosa, the deputy president of South Africa`s ruling African National Congress, said that the entire world was converging upon South Africa `again` to honour the stalwart who ended the white-minority rule and became the first black Prime Minister of the nation in 1995.

"We pay tribute today to the man that is bringing the whole world to South Africa again, who even in his death can unite a nation," he said.

In what is supposed to be the largest gathering of international dignitaries in recent history, more than 70 heads of states would be in attendance when anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela`s memorial service will be held in Johannesburg.

The grand service will be held at the 95-000 seat FNB Stadium in Soweto, which was the venue of 2010 soccer World Cup final, when Mandela was last seen making a major public appearance.

This is also the place where Mandela delivered his first speech after being released from prison in 1990.

Given the huge number of attendees, the South African government has said that it will expand the capacity of the stadium to 200,000 people, said a report.

Those attending the memorial would constitute who`s who of world politics along with the native South Africans with all converging to Johannesburg to pay final respects to the great leader.

Some prominent world leaders attending the memorial are US President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, UK PM David Cameron, Brazil`s President Dilma Rousseff, German President Joachim Gauck, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

From India, President Pranab Mukherjee is leading a delegation representing a cross-section of the political spectrum. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj, Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury and BSP leader Satish Mishra are part of the delegation.

Remarkably, Pranab Mukherjee is one of only six heads of state who will address the crowd at the memorial service. He will join US President Barack Obama, Brazilian leader Dilma Rousseff, Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia and Raul Castro of Cuba as well as Chinese Vice-President Li Yuanchao on the podium to address the crowd.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon would also be attending the huge gathering for the revered leader.

The great anti-apartheid icon, breathed his last on December 5 at the age of 95.

Mandela`s state funeral is scheduled for next Sunday on December 15 in his home town of Qunu in the Eastern Cape province before which his body will lie in state in Pretoria from Wednesday to Friday.

From Zee News

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