Nelson Mandela’s Death

Nelson Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in the history of South Africa and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for his work in fighting apartheid. After his presidency, he remained active in politics and devoted much of his time to charitable work.

Official Announcement

On December 5, 2013, Nelson Mandela, the first President of South Africa to be elected in a fully representative democratic election, died at the age of 95 after a long battle with a respiratory infection. President Jacob Zuma announced his death in a televised address, saying, “Our nation has lost its greatest son.” Mandela’s death was mourned by millions of people around the world, and his funeral was attended by leaders from over 100 countries.

National Funeral Events

The official funeral events that followed Nelson Mandela’s death were solemn and dignified affairs. Flags were flown at half-mast, and people all over the world paid tribute to Mandela in whatever way they could. In South Africa, a ten-day mourning period was declared. December 8, 2013, was declared a National Day of Prayer and Reflection.

On December 10, 2013, a state memorial service was held at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg. More than a hundred foreign dignitaries traveled to South Africa to attend the national funeral events. Many public figures also spoke about Mandela’s legacy, including the following:

  • President of the United States
  • President of India
  • President of Finland
  • President of France
  • President of Ireland
  • President of Portugal
  • President of Germany
  • President of Afghanistan
  • Chancellor of Germany
  • Prime Minister of Italy
  • Prime Miniter of Canada
  • Prime Minister of Australia
  • Prime Miniter of the United Kingdom
  • Prime Miniter of Jamaica
  • Prime Miniter of Jordan
  • Vice-President of China
  • Chairwoman of the Federation Council of Russia
  • King of the Netherlands
  • King of Belgium
  • Queen of Jordan
  • Prince of Wales
  • Prince of Asturias
  • Crown Prince of Denmark
  • Crown Prince of Norway
  • Crown Prince of Japan
  • Crown Princess of Sweden

On December 11, 2013, Mandela’s body was flown from Johannesburg to Pretoria, where it lay in state in the Union Buildings for three days. Tens of thousands of people lined up to pay their respects. In accordance with AbaThembu tradition that dictates that an adult male family member is to remain with the deceased’s body until burial, Nelson’s grandson, Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela, remained with his body for three days.

On December 15, 2013, Mandela’s body was finally laid to rest in Qunu, the village where he was born. Over 4000 people, including celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Bono, attended the funeral. The burial service itself was closed to the public, and only 450 family members, close friends, and chosen dignitaries were allowed to attend. The ceremony was broadcast live on television around the world, and eulogies were given by Nelson Mandela’s children as well as by foreign leaders like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.