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Key events in week of mourning for MandelaPublish Date: Dec 08, 2013
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People leave messages at the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s Centre of Memory in Houghton. PHOTO/AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The South African government expects hordes of mourners to turn out for hundreds of events being planned countrywide to mark the life of democracy icon Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday.

These are the main events leading up to Mandela's official burial at his rural home village of Qunu in the east of the country, according to the latest government update:

Saturday, Dec 7

Mandela's body is prepared by the Military Health Service to lie in state at the seat of government, the Union Buildings in Pretoria, for three days next week.

Sunday, Dec 8

A national day of prayer called by the government, to be marked at places of worship, at home or in community gatherings.

Tuesday, Dec 10

Official memorial service at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, to be attended by 80,000 people including members of the public, heads of state and government, and other VIPs. Several roads around the venue will be closed for the ceremony.

Wednesday, Dec 11 to Friday, Dec 13

The former president's remains will lie in state in Pretoria -- transferred every day between the 1 Military Hospital and the Union Buildings in a cortege. The government has urged mourners to line the route and form a guard of honour.

Mourners wishing to pay their last respects will be shuttled to the Union Buildings in buses from two Pretoria venues, which have yet to be announced.

Saturday, Dec 14

Madiba's remains will be transported to Qunu from the Waterkloof air force base in Pretoria, where the ruling African National Congress which he once led will bid the icon farewell.

In the Eastern Cape, a procession will take place from Mthatha to Qunu about 30 kilometres (19 miles) away, where Mandela's Thembu clan will conduct a traditional ceremony.

Sunday, Dec 15

Mandela will be laid to rest in a state funeral at Qunu. The burial will be broadcast live on television and viewing points will be erected around the country to allow as many people as possible to follow the interment.


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