[PeterPaul.ca] — Former South African President Nelson Mandela will be laid to rest on December 15 following a state funeral expected to draw major world leaders, mourners and celebrities on a scale not seen since the funeral for the late Pope John Paul II, the government announced Friday.
Mandela, popularly known as Madiba, died Thursday at the age of 95 following a lengthy illness. Sunday has been designated as a day of prayer, the government said. President Zuma said during a media briefing on Friday that a memorial service will take place on December 10 at FNB Stadium.
The service will be followed by a period of two days between December 11 and 13 when Mandela’s remains will lie in state at the Union Buildings on Government Ave. in Pretoria.
Mandela will be buried in Qunu—a small rural village in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province. The village is where Mandela was born and according to his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, is where the late leader spent the happiest moments of his childhood.
Crowds of mourners, police and bystanders were seen at the front gates of the Mandela family residence in Houghton Estate—a wealthy suburb in Johannesburg, the South African capital.