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Mandela funeral live: Desmond Tutu's home burgled as he spoke at memorial

7.59 pm: Desmond Tutu's home burgled as he spoke at memorial

Reports suggest that Desmond Tutu's home was broken into and burgled while he was away speaking at Nelson Mandela's memorial.

As Tutu gave a call to all South African to follow Mandela's example, his home was burgled.

AFP quoted his aide Roger Friedman as saying, "We are not able to tell exactly what was stolen, the archbishop and his wife were not at home. The house was not pillaged."

6.00 pm: World leaders pay last respect to Madiba

World leaders bowed and prayed Wednesday before the flag-draped casket containing the body of Nelson Mandela, having a final look at the anti-apartheid icon in the amphitheater where he was sworn in 19 years earlier as South Africa's first black president.

Some made the sign of the cross, others simply spent a few moments gazing at Mandela's face through a glass bubble atop the coffin at the Union Buildings, the government offices in South Africa's capital, Pretoria.

Leaders like Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, South African President Jacob Zuma and others passed by the casket in two lines. Four junior naval officers in white uniforms kept watch. Celebrities like singer Bono of the band U2 also paid their respects. So did FW de Klerk, the last president of white rule who shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela for ending the apartheid era.

Read more here.

5.30 pm: Despite Obama's eulogy, US was conflicted on Mandela

The Nelson Mandela eulogized to the world by President Barack Obama as "a giant of history" and the "last great liberator of the 20th century" seemed a different person from the one the United States held at arm's length, to put it diplomatically, for much of his life and career.

Even as presidents from John F. Kennedy to Bill Clinton denounced apartheid as a racist, untenable system, successive American administrations from the 1960s had friendly ties with South African governments and viewed Mandela with suspicion, if not outright hostility, through the prism of the Cold War.

And Mandela remained on a U.S. terrorism watchlist from the 1970s until the late 2000s. That period covers the living presidents of that period — Jimmy Carter, Clinton and George W. Bush — all of whom joined Obama at Mandela's memorial service at a sports stadium in Johannesburg's Soweto township on Tuesday, as well as Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Even after his 1990 release from prison, his election as South Africa's first black president and the dismantling of apartheid, the U.S. relationship with Mandela was an uneasy one, notably because of his harsh criticism of Israel, the Iraq war and the U.S. embargo on Cuba. Still, if the U.S. presidents present at Tuesday's ceremony harbored anything other than good will toward Mandela, it was not apparent and has been absent since his death last week at the age of 95.

Comparing him to Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln and America's founding fathers, Obama lauded Mandela for his leadership of a resistance movement, giving voice to the oppressed, holding a splintering nation together in a time of great peril and creating a constitutional order to preserve the freedoms he struggled to realize.

Mandela, Obama said, was "a giant of history, who moved a nation toward justice and in the process moved billions around the world."

Yet Washington officialdom did not share such a sympathetic or charitable view over much of the past 50 years.

3.20 pm: Sign language interpreter at funeral fake?

Braam Jordaan, a deaf South African and board member of the World Deaf Federation has today alleged that the sign language interpreter at Madiba's memorial was fake.

London Evening Standard reported Jordaan as saying, "The structure of his hand, facial expressions and the body movements did not follow what the speaker was saying."

Jordaan also alleged that the sign language interpreter was apparently just making up his own sign language during Obama's speech.

Read the full report here.

2. 25 pm: Mandela's body arrives for viewing in South Africa

The casket of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, draped in the multi-coloured South African flag, arrived on  at the seat of power in the country’s capital for public viewing.

Motorcycle-riding police officers escorted the casket from 1 Military Hospital outside of Pretoria to the Union Buildings, once a symbol of the white-dominated government in the country. When Mandela took office, he used the building as his offices and the presidency is still located there.

Some residents of Pretoria lined the streets to watch the procession go by. They sang old struggle songs and called out their farewells to Mandela.

Soldiers in formal uniforms carried Mandela’s casket into the Union Buildings to a special viewing centre built inside the building’s amphitheatre, which President Jacob Zuma named after Mandela by decree on Tuesday.

12. 15 pm: Mandela's family members to pay respect

Nelson Mandela is now lying in state. First, family members and VIPs to pay their respect, then the public after 12 pm.

 

Sarah Carter of CBS New reports that Mandela family is on bus heading to Union Buildings. After their private viewing of body they will return Houghton some traditional ceremonies.

11. 50 am: Mandela gets full military honours

The authorities had urged South Africans to form a “people’s” honor guard along the route of the cortege.

 

"In the esplanade of the Union Buildings, a military honor guard formed up to await the coffin’s arrival under bright skies — a marked contrast with the rain that swamped Tuesday’s ceremony in Johannesburg," notes a New York Times report.

Hundreds of people joined equal numbers of police officers and members of the army to watch the cortege pass by.

The lying-in-state is to be tightly controlled with mourners shuttled in from assembly points. Many streets in the capital were closed to normal traffic.

 

Watch the memorial service live:

11. 30 am: Mandela to lie in state; throngs expected to say farewell

A cortege transporting the body of former South African president and anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela left the capital's main military hospital on Wednesday en route to the Union Buildings, where he will lie in state.

Thousands of people lined the streets as a procession of police motorcycles lead the black hearse carrying Mandela's coffin, which was draped in the South African flag.

Mandela's death last Thursday at the age of 95 has sparked an outpouring of grief and mourning in the country he led from 1994 to 1999 as its first black president.

"This a significant moment for me and my children," said 48-year-old teacher Thapelo Dlamini, who had been on waiting on the street for two hours with his two children.

Mandela's body will lie in state for three days at the Union Buildings, where he was inaugurated as president in 1994 after the first all-race elections that ended decades of white-minority apartheid rule.

He will be buried on Sunday in Qunu, his ancestral home in the rolling hills of the Eastern Cape province, 700 km (450 miles) south of Johannesburg.

His casket will be placed under a dome in Pretoria's Union Buildings, very close to the place where he took the oath of office when he became South Africa's first democratically elected president in 1994, reports BBC.

The first day will be reserved for dignitaries. The public will be allowed to file past his casket on Thursday and Friday. Viewing hours are expected to be limited to daylight. Long lines will likely form from the very early hours of the morning.

 

End of updates for 10 December, 2013

7.29 pm: Desmond Tutu bring ceremony to close

Desmond Tutu may be old, but he is a bundle of energy. After a scolding to the crowd, he makes the crowd swear "We promise to God we will follow the example of Nelson Mandela."

One has got to love this man.

7.27 pm: Desmond Tutu scolds those making noise

"I won't speak untill there is pindrop silence," says Desmond Tutu.

"You must show the world you are disciplined. I want to hear a pin drop," says an angry Tutu.

7.25 pm: And here are some fun tweet about Desmond Tutu

 

 

 

7.11 pm: Tony Blair on Zuma being booed

Tony Blair told BBC News: "(Nelson Mandela) ushered in new era. But the politicians who came after are having to do the hard work on the ground. They are having to get the schools built, the housing, the jobs provided, the crime done. It's a tough business."

7.00 pm: Desmond Tutu to speak next

South African social rights activist and retired Anglican bishop Desmond Tutu will speak at the FNB stadium next.

6.50 pm: Zuma conveys condolences to Mandel family Jacob Zuma conveys his condolences to Nelsons Mandela's wives and family. "Today Madiba is now more. He leaves behind a nation that loves him dearly and a continent proud to call him and African," Zuma said. 6.45 pm: S Africa urges journos to ignore boos

  6.40 pm: Madiba laid foundation for better life for all, says Zum Meanwhile Zuma continues to speak in a stadium where people are getting impatient with him. They boos continues as he speaks. "Madiba never hesitated to speak his mind, regardless of how uncomfortable his words may be," says Zuma. "Under his leadership, the democratically elected governments focussed on building a democratic society based on non-racialism and non-sexism," says Zuma. Outlining Mandela's achievements, Zuma says, "Indeed Madiba was one of a kind." "Mandela never wanted to be viewed as a messiah or a saint, Zuma says. He emphasised that all his achievements were derived from working the ANC as a collective," says Zuma. 6.30 pm: Boos for Zuma amid love for Madiba 

 

 

6.25 pm: Privileged to have lived in times of Mandela, says Zuma Jacob Zuma says it is a privilege for South Africa to have lived in the times of Nelson Mandela. "South Africans sing a popular freedom song about Mandela - that he is one of a kind, that there is no one quite like him. He recites some of the lyrics. It is one of the most accurate descriptions of this global icon," Zuma said. He says, "Madiba was a fearless freedom fighter who refused to let the brutality of apartheid states to stand between him and his struggle." 6.21 pm: Zuma begins to speak amid booing As African president Jacob Zuma started to speak, there was a lot of booing that could be heard from the public. Ignoring that, Zuma thanked Madiba's family and leaders across the world. 6.12 pm: A photo of Barack Obama and Raul Castro

6.11 pm:  Raul Castro calls Mandela a prophet of unity, peace President of Cuba, Raul Castro is now speaking at the funeral and says that Mandela was the prophet of unity, peace and reconciliation. Castro said, "Mandela's life teaches us that what threatens the existence of humanity can be eradicated only by effort from all countries." "We shall never forget Mandela's moving homage to our country's struggles when he came," said Castro. Castro speaks of Mandela's 'bond of affection' with Fidel Castro and quotes what Fidel Castro had said about Mandela. "Honour and glory for ever to the great comrade Nelson Mandela and the heroic people of South Africa," says Castro 5.56 pm: Pray for Madiba's eternal peace, says Pranab Mukherjee President Pranab Mukherjee today wished Madiba's soul eternal peace at the funeral. "Madiba was a towering personality of great compassion," Mukherjee said. "Indeed his life and struggles that represented hope of the downtrodden across the world reminds us of Father of our nations Mahatma Gandhi," he said. Mukherjee called Mandela "a venerated elder, a great soul". "Mandela lived a life of sacrifice and privation, as he pursued a seemingly impossible goal for his people," Mukherjee said "Indians stand by South Africans in their hour of bereavement," said Pranab Mukherjee. Earlier in his speech he had said that Madiba's principles were also adopted by founding fathers of the Indian constitution. 5.30 pm: Chinese vice president Li Yuanchao speaks next Li Yuanchao of China is speaking now, after Obama and Dilma Rousseff of Brazil. However sections of the crowd, who clearly came to watch Obama, are leaving according to NYT's Lydia Polgreen:

Li called Mandela the 'pride' of South Africa and vows that China will always cherish its relationship with whom he called the 'founding father' of China - South Africa relations. "He was an old friend of China's and a household name in China, he says. He committed himself to cooperation with China. The Chinese people will always cherish the memory of his contribution to friendship between the two countries, Li says." Meanwhile the crowd is cheering and chanting on its own momentum. No rapt attention, like there was for Obama. Possibly because they have to wait until the translator speaks before they can understand what is being said. 5.16 pm: He makes me want to be a better man, says Obama Obama's decision to end with the last verse of Ernest Henly's 'Invictus':  It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul is possibly one of the most emotionally stirring moments of his address. Before that, he said that both Michelle and he were beneficiaries of all Mandela had fought for, and said it was Mandela's struggle that had inspired him to pursue the "unlikely path that led to me standing here today." He said: And while I will always fall short of Madiba's example, he makes me want to be better. He speaks to what is best inside us. After this great liberator is laid to rest; when we have returned to our cities and villages, and rejoined our daily routines, let us search then for his strength - for his largeness of spirit - somewhere inside ourselves. And when the night grows dark, when injustice weighs heavy on our hearts, or our best laid plans seem beyond our reach - think of Madiba, and the words that brought him comfort within the four walls of a cell: According to The Guardian, "That was a powerful and personal speech from Obama – clearly acknowledging the links between the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and the struggle against segregation in the United States, and touching on how Mandela's example had inspired Obama himself in his own life and career." Before that he made a pointed speech that looked like it was directed to the Castro's and the Mugabe's in the crowd. "Too many leaders claim solidarity with Mandela, but do not tolerate dissent from their own people. And too many of us are complacent or cynical", he said. "There are no easy answers. But there were no easy answers before this child, born in world war one either", he said. 5.08 pm: Obama quotes Mandela's words from his 1964 trial Obama is striking gold with every line of his speech. He quotes from Mandela's eloquent defence in his 1964 trial, where he was sentenced to prison for life: I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I’ve cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die. The crowd predictably goes crazy. "He used prison to spread his thirst for knowledge to others in the movement, and learned the language of his oppressors so that one day he might better convey to them how their own freedom depended upon his", he adds. Obama also talks about 'Ubuntu'. He showed us how to free not just the prisoner but the jailer as well. He changed laws, but he also changed hearts. He showed us all how to live Ubuntu. "We will never know how much of him was shaped in a large solitary cell. But we know what he did, Obama says. Some tweets from the stadium:

 

 

5.05 pm: Mandela was not just an icon, says Obama Obama pays tribute to Mandela the man, saying that calling him an icon was an injustice. "He himself rejected "such a lifeless portrait", he says, to huge applause. He recalls Mandela's comments. “I’m not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.” He added that Mandela showed us the power of the possible, the power of taking action. 5.00 pm: Obama pays tribute to Mandela People from every race and every walk of life of South Africa, the world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us. His struggle was your struggle. His triumph was your triumph. And your freedom and democracy were his greatest triumphs", says Obama. Obama called him the greatest liberator of the twentieth century, and compared him to Gandhi and Martin Luther King. 4.56 pm: Obama jogs up the stairs in true rock star avatar More and more cheers as Obama jogs up to the speaker's podium. He is scheduled to speak next. Mbete introduces Obama as "our son of the African soil" . 4.42 pm: AU Commission chair Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma says Mandela fought for the impressed The AU commission chair AU Commission chair Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is on stage. Ramaphosa makes an appeal to the people behind the stage to stop their singing, muttering "I hope it helps", in an undertone that is nonetheless caught by the microphone. It does not seem to have helped much though. One can only wonder what Mandela would have thought of the celebrations and singing that are going on here in his name. Zuma, like those who spoke before her, also pays tribute to Mandela's struggles and the leadership qualities he embodied. She quotes one of his sayings, "history is on the side of the oppressed" as she speaks of his work to end tyranny and injustice. "Now that the tapestry of your life is done, it is a mosiac of patriotism, pan Africanism, sacrifice, reconciliation, discipline and humility", she adds, calling him an icon of South Africa and the rest of the world. " Africa shall be prosperous, Africa shall invest in its children, women and youth, Africa shall be at peace with itself. You have taught us a lot. We are here today, because of you. Of course we shall mis you. But we know you will be watching over us and guiding us from God's celestial shores. Now you can have your well deserved rest", she ended. Fun fact: Zuma is the ex-wife of the current South African president 4.40 pm: Palestinian leader Abbas is cheered by crowd As the names of more dignitaries are read out, the crowd reacts differently to each leader. Abbas gets a massive cheer as does Mugabe for some strange reason. Also in the crowd is the Cuban leader, Raul Castro. Cuba was a staunch critic of apartheid under Mr Castro's brother Fidel. 4.24 pm: Crowd goes crazy for Barack Obama Cyril Ramaphosa asks for discipline by the people, in a clear reference to all the booing that is going on every time they see Jacob Zuma on the screens. In a twist of irony however, he is cut short as the crowd goes absolutely crazy when Obama is shown on the screen. Obama gives an almost shy wave. UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon is now speaking, and pays tribute to this "great leader of this rainbow nation". "What a wondrous display of this rainbow nation." Rain emerges from rain and the sun, he says - it is a similar blending of grief and gratitude he feels today. "All are here, all are united today", adds Ban, saying that South Africa's democracy was not just a triumph for South Africa but for all people with similar ideals. He recounts the role of the United Nations in ending aparthied. "We used every tool we had from sanctions to diplomatic isolation till apartheid was vanquished. But as Mandela said, our work is not done". He ends by saying that Mandela's heart is larger than this stadium. "It is the duty of all of us who loved him to keep his memory live", before uttering a few words in Zulu. The crowd predictably goes crazy. On behalf of the UN he offers condolences to Graca Machel and the Mandela family. Fergal Keane from BBC News says the boos for Zuma are interesting and very South African - a politically passionate nation. There is a long history here of memorial services acting as focus for political feeling. 4.20 pm: Madiba's grand children and great grand children to pay tribute Huge cheers for Mandela's grand children and great grand children as they take the stage to pay tribute to the leader. They do so by way of a poem, the emotion of which is clearly resonating with the crowd. In the verses, they describe him as a great tree that has fallen. 4.12 pm: General Thanduxolo Mandela says that he is 'thankful' Family member General Thanduxolo Mandela is called to the podium to pay tribute on behalf of the Mandela family.  He says that the overwhelming feeling in the family has been thankfulness. "We share Madiba with South Africa and the rest of this world", he says. Mandela also pays tribute to Mandela's humility, saying that "his life was always service to others. That was what is his life was about." "In his lifetime, Madiba mingled with kings, queens and Presidents. At the core of his being was a man of the people", he added. He ends by saying that the family will try to maintain his legacy and asks the people to do the same. "Mandela is gone from before our eyes, but never from our hearts and minds", he says. Meanwhile the crowd is booing every time the camera pans on Jacob Zuma, the current President of the country. He is also scheduled to speak. Will be booed through his speech in front of an entire stage of world leaders?

 

 

3.58 pm: Mandela created hope when there was none, says his prison mate. The first speaker is Mandela's friend Andrew Mlangeni, who was in prison with him on Robben Island. "I have no doubt Mandela is smiling as he is looking down on his beloved countrymen coming together to celebrate his life", says an emotional Mlangeni. Calling him an 'incomparable force of leadership and kindness", Mlangeni pays tribute to Mandela's work to dispel racial discrimination and work under a banner of equality and kindness. "Nelson Mandela epitomised the values of sacrifice, wisdom and patience, and created hope when there was none. He forged optimism and confidence out of distrust and sorrow. It is impossible to compare a leader of his stature", he said. My path with Madiba first crossed in the early fifties", said Mlangeni, noting that his greatness as a leader stemmed from his humility. Mlangeni also talks about the trial at which he and Mandela, among others, were found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island. In prison Mandela exuded leadership but based on collective thinking, he says. 3.49 pm: Interfaith prayers get underway Mandela never lost an opportunity to reconcile people, the Muslim speaker says. Let us strive towards peace, harmony and reconciliation on the basis of human dignity. "As he stood up to injustice and illegal wars, let us do likewise, even if it is waged by the powerful," the Muslim leader says. (Mandela was opposed to the Iraq war.) The Christian leader, Thabo Makgoba, archbishop of Cape Town, who goes next, calls for the lords blessings on South Africa. "Give us encourage to hold fast to his values, to follow the examples of his practices and share them with the world. Our hearts are filled with gratitude that you have called Madiba to his eternal rest", he says. "Go forth you revolutionary and loving soul on your journey out of this world. In the name of God who created you, suffered with you and liberated you", he said. A singer, Baleka Mbete, is now leading the crowd in a sung tribute to the leader. The song is Siyabonga Nkokheli Tata Madiba - We thank our Leader. 3.39 pm: Leaders of different faiths begin funeral Priests of different faiths began the funeral. Ramaphosa welcomed Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and Christian leaders to begin the funeral process.

Nelson Mandela. Reuters

Nelson Mandela. Reuters

"Wipe away the tears of all South Africans and indeed the world," said South Africa's chief rabbi Warren Goldstein comparinf Mandela to biblical Joseph. 3.33 pm: Time to pause and reflect on Mandela's life, says Cyril Ramaphosa Programme director Cyril Ramaphosa said that it was time to reflect on the life of Nelson Mandela, who took the pain of millions of Suth Africans. "I apologise for the rain," he said. "We were not able to stop the rain, but this is how Nelson Mandela would have wanted to be sent on. These are blessings. In the African tradition, it means the gods are welcoming you and the gates of heaven are open," said Ramaphosa. He said that Mandela's long walk was over and now he could finally rest. 3. 26 pm: Crowds join in to sing national anthem The national anthem reverberated through the FNB stadium as each and one in the crowd sang along. It was followed by a long cheer from the crowd. Meanwhile, the they together chanted "Long live the spirit of Mandela. Also here's a photo of Raul Castro and Dilma Roussef 's arrival.

  3.22 pm: Zuma greeted with boos and cheers President of South Africa Jacob Zuma arrived with his wife at the FNB stadium.  He was greeted with cheers as well as boos from the crowd that was otherwise very welcoming to everyone else. Zuma was besieged by corruption allegations and also criticised over failure to redress the apartheid's legacy. 3.05 pm: Crowds cheer as Mandela's wife enters FNB The crowds welcomed Nelson Mandela's wife Graca Machel walked into the FNB stadium. She was followed by his former wife Winnie Madikizela. But what followed was a powerful moment when the two of them hugged and the shutterbugs went haywire to get a shot of the two together. Also, Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan and Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta made their way to their seats amid a lot of cheers.

  2.51 pm: Ban Ki-moon cheered as he enters FNB stadium United Nations chief Ban Ki-Moon was cheered by the crowd as he entered the FNB stadium. He waved back at the crowds as they cheered. He will be one of the speakers during the funeral. Tony Blair too was  seen waiting for the funeral to begin, so was Kofi Annan along with other dignitaries. 2.43 pm:  President of India, Sonia Gandhi arrive for funeral As the crowd continued cheering and chanting as they waited for the funeral to begin, President of India Pranab Mukherjee and Congress party president Sonia Gandhi were escorted into the stadium. Right after them walked in Hamid Karzai. The ambiance at the  stadium with all the singing and cheering is indeed a celebration, rather than mourning. 2.25 pm: Memorial service about to begin, marching band takes the field The cheering and chanting is now at fever pitch, as a marching band takes the field. The event is due to start in minutes, but there are still thousands of people trying to get in, according to reporters who are at the event. The list of people trying to get in, includes several world leaders and dignitaries. So there could well be a delay. The crowd inside are loudly cheering the arrival of every dignitary. Mandela's family are being escorted under a red umbrella to a marquee. The rain today is very strange weather for this time of the year, says the South African announcer at the event. "Perhaps the heavens are weeping". This sentiment is echoed by Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, "It's a blessing from the ancestors welcoming a son of the soil." 2.15 pm: Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan arrive at stadium According to the BBC, now the Elders have arrived at the stadium. They are an independent group of global leaders who work together for peace and human rights. They were brought together in 2007 by Nelson Mandela, and include Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu.

Here is a quick look at some of the other dignitaries who have arrived at the stadium:

 

 

1.45 pm: FW de Klerk arrives at Mandela memorial   FW de Klerk, the man who oversaw the end of apartheid, and handed over the reigns of power to Nelson Mandela has arrived to pay tribute to him. Interestingly, Nelson Mandela received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on this day, 10 December in 1993. He was a joint recipient with FW De Klerk. This wonderful blog post by Reuters, details the complex relationship between the two: "When Nelson Mandela and South African President F.W. De Klerk began their historic negotiations to end apartheid, each man professed respect for the other. Indeed their relationship appeared not only professional, but personal. Yet as the negotiations dragged on through 1992 and 1993, tempers grew short, and South Africans grew increasingly frustrated with the slow progress toward the liberation that had seemed so promising just a few years ago. Mandela understood that whatever their personal relationship, and whatever mutual respect had been lost, De Klerk was his essential partner for peace. read the whole post here.

Meanwhile Nelson Mandela's widow Graca Machel has arrived at the stadium. The BBC's Joseph Winter says there were huge cheers as she was shown on the big screens. 1.29 pm: Singing crowds flock to FNB stadium Crowds are converging on FNB Stadium in Soweto, the Johannesburg township that was a stronghold of support for the anti-apartheid struggle that Mandela embodied as a prisoner of white rule for 27 years and then during a peril-fraught transition to the all-race elections that made him president. "I would not have the life I have today if it was not for him," said Matlhogonolo Mothoagae, a postgraduate marketing student who arrived hours before the stadium gates opened. "He was jailed so we could have our freedom." Rohan Laird, the 54-year-old CEO of a health insurance company, said he grew up during white rule in a "privileged position" as a white South African and that Mandela helped whites work through a burden of guilt. "His reconciliation allowed whites to be released themselves," Lair said. "I honestly don't think the world will see another leader like Nelson Mandela." And here are some great moments from Soweto captured on Twitter:

 

 

 

1.16 pm: Everyone wants a piece of Mandela With world leaders converging on Soweto and Twitter talking of little else, it seems that everybody who is anybody needs to lay claim to the leader's legacy. But oh dear, photoshopping yourself into a picture with Mandela can hardly be called good taste, can it?

And while we're on the topic, this is a public service message to all those well meaning netizens. A lot of your memes paying tribute to Mandela are pictures of Morgan Freeman. An actor. But he's playing Mandela in an upcoming biopic soon:

This is not Mandela.

This is not Mandela.

12.45 pm: Barack Obama stuck in traffic en route to funeral

With all the tens of thousands of people converging on the FNB stadium in Johannesburg, President Obama's car is stuck in traffic! Will this force a delay of the memorial service? The rain can't be helping. Here's a photograph of Obama's stationary convoy on Twitter:

Here is the programme for the service. Will Obama miss the first part of the programme, which is a tribute by a family friend?

 

12.37 pm: Festive atmosphere inside FNB stadium

Thousands of South Africans are singing and dancing inside the FNB stadium in Soweto under an overcast sky as they await the start of the ceremony, reports the BBC. In fact, the rain is being seen as a blessing according to African culture, according to this report:

"The rain has not had an impact on attendance, with people saying it does not deter them from the day’s core event. Many see it as a blessing, as is the case in African culture".

 

 

Singing, joyous crowds are swelling in the stands despite rain, the Associated Press added.

Meanwhile some interesting trivia of the historic sort:

 

12.00 pm: Mourners flock to Mandela funeral

Mourners are gathering at a stadium near Johannesburg for a massive memorial service honoring Nelson Mandela.

A light rain fell Tuesday as mourners gathered at FNB Stadium in Soweto, the Johannesburg township that was a stronghold of support for the anti-apartheid struggle that Mandela embodied.

Some 100 world leaders are expected. U.S. President Barack Obama landed in South Africa hours before the event was due to start.

Police have promised tight security, and are patrolling a wide perimeter around the stadium. Even so, the first crowds entered the stadium without being searched, reports Associated Press.

Here is a video of Obama paying tribute to Mandela shortly after the news of his passing:

11.00 am: Pranab Mukherjee arrives in South Africa

President Pranab Mukherjee has also arrived in Johannesburg for Nelson Mandela's memorial service. President Mukherjee is accompanied by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj, Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury and BSP leader Satish Mishra, reflecting the high-esteem Mandela held across the entire political spectrum in India.

He is one of only six heads of state who will address the crowd at the memorial service. He will join Obama, Brazilian leader Dilma Rousseff, Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia and Raul Castro of Cuba as well as Chinese Vice-President Li Yuanchao on the podium to address the crowd.

Mukherjee summed up the mood when he said shortly before leaving for Johannesburg that his visit to South Africa "reflects the high degree of love and respect which Dr Mandela commanded in India." "My delegation and I hope to convey to the government and people of South Africa the intense grief and personal loss that we in India feel over the sad demise of the great soul - our beloved 'Madiba'," he said.

"His life was a living example of human strength and courage in the face of brute force and gross injustice. "He was the last of the giants who led the world's struggles against colonialism and his struggle held special significance for us as we saw in him a reflection of our own prolonged anti-colonial struggle led by Mahatma Gandhi," he said.

10.53 am: Obama arrives in South Africa for Mandela funeral

US President Barack Obama has arrived in Johannesburg to attend a mass memorial for Nelson Mandela that will recall his gift for bringing enemies together across political and racial divides.

Obama and Cuba's Raul Castro, whose countries maintain an ideological enmity lasting more than 50 years, are among the designated orators at a Johannesburg soccer stadium where 23 years earlier Mandela - freshly freed from apartheid jail - was hailed by cheering supporters as the hope for a new South Africa.

Coinciding with UN-designated Human Rights Day, the memorial service for Mandela in the 95,000-seat Soccer City stadium is the centrepiece of a week of mourning for the globally-admired statesman, who died on Thursday aged 95.

Tens of thousands of ordinary South Africans will be joining scores of leaders from across the world to honour a leader whose life of imprisonment and political struggle made him a global symbol of integrity and forgiveness.

The fact that the visiting leaders - more than 90 are expected - include some from nations still locked in antagonism, such as Cuba and the United States, adds piquancy and resonance to the homage being held at the gigantic bowl-shaped stadium, the venue of the 2010 World Cup final.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will both be there. Blair has called Mugabe a dictator who should have been removed from power. Mugabe has called Blair an imperialist and once told him to "go to hell".

Such antagonisms will be put on mute on Tuesday as the life of someone who put his faith in reconciliation into practice to successfully unite a multi-racial nation is remembered.

"What he did in life, that's what he's doing in death, he's bringing people together from all walks of life, from the different sides of opinion, political belief, religion," Zelda la Grange, Mandela's former personal assistant, told Reuters.

7.45 am: Pranab Mukherjee leaves for South Africa

President Pranab Mukherjee left for Johannesburg to attend the memorial service for South Africa's anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.

His visit is aimed at conveying the "intense grief and personal loss" India feels over his death. In his pre-departure statement, Mukherjee said the former South African President was a household name and someone the Indians saw as their own.

"My delegation and I hope to convey to the government and people of South Africa the intense grief and personal loss that we in India feel over the sad demise of the great soul - our beloved 'Madiba'," he said. Madiba is the name of Mandela's clan. - PTI

Updates for 09 December end

10:08 pm: Manmohan Singh registers condolence message for Mandela at SA Mission

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today visited South African High Commission to register his condolence message for Nelson Mandela, whom he described as "a giant among men".

Singh paid tributes to the late South African leader who passed away on Friday last. "A giant among men has passed away. In the demise of Dr Nelson Mandela, South Africa and India have lost a great Gandhian of our age. May his soul rest in peace," he wrote in the condolence book at the Mission.

8.05 pm: Dalai Lama wont attend Mandela's funeral

Having been denied a visa by South Africa in 2009, The Dalai Lama won't be attending Nelson Mandela's funeral.

India Today reported: "The Dalai Lama, who is currently away for a winter sojourn, has no plans to attend the ceremony and he has also not applied for visa clearance, joint secretary at the Lama's office, Tenzin Taklha confirmed today."

7.51 pm: Not American? Then South Carolina Sheriff won't lower flag

News is that for the South Carolina sheriff, if you're not American, he won't lower the flag for you. Even if you are Nelson Mandela.

Even as leaders across the world pay tribute to Mandela, Pickens County sheriff Rick Clark seems to be a tough nut to crack. After he received an order from President Barack Obama he put on Facebook that he won't lower the American flag.

The Washington Times reported Clark as saying on Facebook, “Nelson Mandela did great things for his country and was a brave man but he was not an AMERICAN!!! The flag should be lowered at our Embassy in S. Africa, but not here. Our flag is at half staff today for a Deputy in the low country who died going to help his fellow Deputy. He deserves the honor. I have ordered that the flag here at my office back up after tomorrow’s mourning of Pearl Harbor Day!”

7.34 pm: South African govt ask journalists not to get drunk

What is with journalists and drinking? The government of South Africa has strictly asked journalists to behave. Or else they will lose their rights to broadcast.

Iol news reports, "The government has put together a strict set of media guidelines for Madiba’s state funeral and other events, warning the more than 2 000 journalists expected to act professionally and not get drunk."

7.24 pm: Netanyahu to give Mandela's funeral a miss?

Looks like Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu won't attend Nelson Mandela's funeral.

Netanyahu had notified the South African authorities that he would fly in but cancelled his plans at the last minute due to the costs involved -- around 7.0 million shekels ($2 million) for his transport and security alone, reported AFP.

Where as reports suggest that to fill up one of his swimming pools Netanyahu spends $23,000.

7.02 pm: Mandela had wonderful time during last days, says daughter

Nelson Mandela had a "wonderful time" in his last few days as his wife Graca, his children and grandchildren were all there to say goodbye, the anti- apartheid icon's daughter has said.

"Until the last moment he had us, you know...The children were there, the grandchildren were there, Graca was there, so we are always around him and even at the last moment, we were sitting with him on Thursday the whole day," Makaziwe Mandela was quoted as saying by the BBC.

"I think from last week, Friday until Thursday, it was a wonderful time, if you can say the process of death is wonderful. But Tata (Nelson Mandela) had a wonderful time, because we were there," she said.

6.39 pm: World leaders begin to arrive in South Africa

President Pranab Mukherjee will be among 70 heads of state and government and global figures who will attend a memorial service in South Africa tomorrow for anti-apartheid legend Nelson Mandela, making it one of the largest such gatherings in generations.

Scores of foreign dignitaries have already arrived in the country for the memorial service at the 95,000-seat FNB Stadium, where Mandela made his last major public appearance during the 2010 football World Cup.

Nelson Mandela. Getty Images

Nelson Mandela. Getty Images

President Mukherjee will lead a high-level delegation to the memorial service of the former South African President, who died at the age of 95 on December 5. The delegation will comprise UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj, Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury and BSP leader Satish Mishta, a Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesman said in New Delhi.

There has been "unprecedented interest" to attend the revered statesman\'s funeral, South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told a news conference here. The other dignitaries who have confirmed their attendance include US President Barack Obama, Brazilian leader Dilma Rousseff, French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Obama will be accompanied by his wife Michelle and three living former occupants of the White House -- Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W Bush. Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas, Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will also attend the event.

Britain's Prince Charles will represent Queen Elizabeth II at the memorial service. Authorities have mobilised around 11,000 security personnel to ensure security during the service. Some leaders are expected to travel to Mandela's rural childhood village of Qunu for his funeral service and burial on 15 December.