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World bids farewell to Mandela at huge memorial

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-12-10

Around 100 heads of state and thousands of South Africans gathered to honour Nelson Mandela at a memorial service in a Johannesburg sports stadium Tuesday. Look back over FRANCE 24’s live blog of the event.

• Family, friends, world leaders and religious figures from various faiths all spoke to pay homage to Nelson Mandela in front of the thousands of South Africans who turned out to celebrate the life of the anti-apartheid hero despite pouring rain at the World Cup stadium in Soweto.

• Barack Obama was greeted by wild cheers as he addressed the crowd. The US President said that Mandela was “the last great liberator of the 20th century” and that "we will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again”.

• There was embarrassment for Jacob Zuma when he was booed and jeered by the crowd as he arrived in the stadium and again as he prepared to speak. The South African president has been battling criticism over his government’s handling of various issues, including persisting poverty, crime and unemployment.

• The booing ceased for Zuma's speech, however, during which he underlined Mandela's role as "a fearless freedom fighter" who “laid the foundation for a better life for all”.

• And there was an historic moment as Obama shook hands with Cuban leader Raul Castro, who also spoke at the ceremony. Havana and Washington have not had diplomatic relations since 1961, two years after Raul’s brother Fidel came to power in the Cuban revolution.

Smartphone and tablet users can follow this live blog by clicking here.

 

 

Date created : 2013-12-10

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