Voice of America (Washington, DC)

South Africa Honors Mandela With Day of Reflection

Sunday has been designated as a day of prayer and reflection in South Africa in honor of the late anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela who died Thursday at the age of 95.

South African President Jacob Zuma, at a church service in Johannesburg, thanked God for giving Mr. Mandela to South Africa.

Winnie Mandela and other members of the Mandela family were also in attendance at the Bryanston Methodist Church.

World leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will travel to Johannesburg to attend the official memorial service for Mr. Mandela on Tuesday.

The service will be held at Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium - the site of the 2010 World Cup final. Memorial services will also be held in all provinces and regions.

Former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush will also attend.

Mandela's remains will lie in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria - the official seat of the South African government - on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Officials said Saturday that Mandela's funeral cortege will travel through the streets of Pretoria and they encouraged people to line the route.

Mourners have been flocking to sites around South Africa to pay homage to their beloved freedom fighter.

Organizers say they expect about 9,000 people to attend a public state funeral on December 15, in Mr. Mandela's ancestral village of Qunu.

On Saturday, a large crowded gathered in Soweto township where people sang, danced and held up pictures of Mandela. He lived in the township when he was a young lawyer.

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