Johannesburg: The funeral of Nelson Mandela on December 15 in his ancestral home of Qunu will be larger than that of Princess Diana, Michael Jackson and Pope John Paul II combined, ANC leader Ismail Vadi has said. Vadi said on Saturday at a memorial service at the Gandhi Hall in Lenasia.
"These were all global figures who attracted millions of viewers, but I have little doubt in saying that the entire world, not just the musical or religious fraternities, will be remembering Nelson Mandela.
"The involvement of people in this funeral will exceed I think all these three figures together in terms of numbers," Vadi said.
`Nelson Mandela`s funeral will be one of biggest in world`
"These were all global figures who attracted millions of viewers, but the entire world will be remembering Nelson Mandela," said an ANC leader.
"This is because Mandela`s nature cut across nations of the world and all political, linguistic, cultural, ethnic and social divides. Whether you belonged to the Western democratic world, the capitalistic order or any other order opposed to that, Mandela`s influence reached all four corners of the world.
"Mandela stood for principle over power. He was a man of immense power himself, but he stood for the principle and not for abuse of power. He stood for selflessness over selfishness. There were many things that Mandela could have acquired because of his stature, but he stood for something beyond himself. He placed humility over pride and egotistical behaviour, he said.
More than 30 religious and community organisations packed the venue, which had been named after Mahatma Gandhi and officially opened by Mandela during one of his 10 visits to this largest Indian area in the province. Vadi said Lenasia was perhaps the only township that could claim to have had so many visits from Mandela.
Speaker after speaker from various religious and cultural organisations lauded the role that Mandela had played in uniting the people of South Africa in a peaceful manner. "All South Africans, across religious spheres and colour divides, owe a debt of gratitude to Mr Nelson Mandela," said Moulana Suliman Ravat of the Jamiatul Ulema (Council of Muslim Theologians).
"We invite the people of this country to emulate Mandela`s leadership, tolerance, and selflessness so that we can ensure that his legacy is one that we can contribute to in developing and sustaining the improvement and advancement of our communities as a whole," said South African Tamil Federation President Karthi Moothsamy.
"As the Catholic community here we were always impressed by Madiba"s way of putting people first in everything that he did. His struggles for the poor were foremost in his life," said Fr Philippe Docq of St Thomas` Catholic Church in Lenasia.