The South African Embassy near Monrovia has released the official state memorial protocol for fallen African and world icon and hero, former South African President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
Mr. Mandela, the founding President of South Africans’ inclusive democratic nation, departed the world at around 20:50 GMT on the 5th of December. He was 95.
The South African Embassy said a memorial service will be held in honor of Mr. Mandela, at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion on Broad Street on Tuesday, December 10, beginning at some point between 1:00 p.m. and 2: 00.p.m.
The South Africans have further announced that, at their Embassy opposite Sophie’s in Congo Town, the Book of Condolence has also been opened for Mr. Mandela, who President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf described as a “towering and inspiring world leader whose moral authority was unsurpassed.”
In her message of condolence to the people and Government of South Africa, President Sirleaf said Mr. Mandela’s anti-apartheid struggle brought freedom to millions of South Africans.
“His spirit of forgiveness and his willingness to embrace his tormentors made him a symbol of reconciliation and a beloved figure around the world,” she stressed.
“As the first black President of South Africa, his courage and unwavering dedication to the ideal of justice, freedom and equality contributed to reordering that country into a truly rainbow nation,” she further stated.
The Liberian President recalled that during her visit to South Africa at Mr. Mandela’s 90th birthday, she was awe-struck by his spirit of generosity and commitment to the cause of humanity. “His pursuit of peace, democracy, and equality for the people of South Africa and mankind everywhere, earned him the Nobel Peace prize,” she added.
Meanwhile, the President has ordered that the Liberian flag be flown at half-mast for three days as an expression of Liberia’s grief and a mark of respect for this fallen hero who, like many other South Africans, and other nationals still under colonialism, once carried Liberian passports.
Announcing the passing of Mr. Mandela on December 5th, South Africa's President Jacob Zuma said: “He is now resting. He is now at peace.”
Mr. Zuma further stated: “Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father. Although we knew that this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of profound and enduring loss.”
“His tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world. His humility, his compassion, and his humanity earned him their love. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mandela family. To them, we owe a debt of gratitude.
“Our thoughts are with his wife Mrs. Graca Machel, his ex-wife, Ms. Winnie Madikezela-Mandela, and his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and the entire Mandela family. This is the moment of our deepest sorrow.”
Meanwhile, world leaders, including US President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, France’s President, Francois Hollande, have announced that they are going to attend Mr. Mandela’s state funeral slated for Sunday, December 15, in Qunu. President George Walker Bush and Laura Bush, President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Prince Charles, British Prime Minister David Cameron are also among the 60 heads of state and government that so far have consented to be in attendance.
In Mandela’s autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom,” Qunu, according to Mandela, is where he spent the happiest moments of his childhood. This small rural village in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province will be the final resting place for Mr. Mandela, whose indelible marks will be engraved on the pages of history ad infinitum (forevermore). He will be buried there on December 15, 2013.
State Memorial Service
Date: Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Venue: FNB Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa
Date: Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Venue: Union Buildings, Pretoria
Date: Sunday, December 15, 2013