Today 09 December
ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (United States) (AFP) - Nelson Mandela loomed large for each of the four US presidents set to honor him on Tuesday: as a distant mentor, a personal counselor, a wartime critic and a fellow world sage. President Barack Obama and former US leader George W. Bush boarded Air Force One early Monday to head to Mandela's memorial service in Soweto. Former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter were making their own way there. Obama has long revered Mandela as the political idol who drew him into politics by the power of his example.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama headed to South Africa on Monday to attend a national memorial service for anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Workers busily constructed a stage Monday at the Soweto soccer stadium where world leaders will eulogize Nelson Mandela before tens of thousands of mourners, as police promised tight security.
In the nearly two decades Andrew Mlangeni spent in the neighbouring prison cell to Nelson Mandela, he forged a special bond with the anti-apartheid "colossus" that was ripped apart by his death last week. "A part of me is gone with his passing," Mlangeni said in an emotional goodbye Monday, during which he admitted that South Africa had not delivered on the expectations created by Mandela's life and legacy. Sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964 at the same treason trial as Mandela, Mlangeni served 18 years of 26 years in the cell on Robben Island next to the man he knew as Madiba. He is now only one of three surviving co-defendants of the landmark treason case that became known as the Rivonia trial, in which 10 African National Congress (ANC) leaders were tried for on charges of sabotage, public violence and bombings.
All three surviving former British premiers are to join current Prime Minister David Cameron in South Africa at a massive memorial service for Nelson Mandela, it was announced on Monday. John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown will join Cameron for Tuesday's service at Soweto's FNB stadium, where 91 heads of state including US President Barack Obama will pay their respects to the late anti-apartheid icon along with 80,000 mourners. British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, leader of Cameron's junior coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, and the leader of the main opposition Labour party Ed Miliband are also attending the service, Cameron's office said.
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