Nelson Mandela


The funeral of Nelson Mandela will be held on Sunday, Dec. 15, in the Eastern Cape Province of Qunu, according to South African President Jacob Zuma.

"We should all work together to organize the most befitting funeral for this outstanding son of our country," Zuma said on Friday, Dec. 6. Zuma confirmed that Mandela will be accorded a state funeral.

Qunu is where Mandela grew up and the ceremony will be held "under a large tent nestled in the hills where Mandela ran and played as a child," according to CNN.

Zuma announced that Sunday, Dec. 8, will be a "national day of prayer and reflection," and outlined the events of the mourning period.

Nelson Mandela

AP Photo/Denis Farrell

"The official memorial service will be held on the 10th of December at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg," Zuma said. "From the 11th to the 13th of December the remains of our beloved Madiba will lie in Pretoria, where he served as the first president of this young democracy; during these days official memorial services will also be held in all provinces and regions. Once again, we thank all South Africans for the dignity, respect, and the support that has been provided to the Mandela family from the period of Madiba's illness to his eventual passing."

The revered South African statesman, who spent 27 years in prison for treason before becoming the apartheid-torn country's first black president in 1994, died Thursday, Dec. 5, at his home after being in failing health for some time.

Zuma announced Mandela's passing in a televised address.

"Although we knew that this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss," Zuma said on Thursday. "Our thoughts are with the South African people who today mourn the loss of the one person who, more than any other, came to embody their sense of a common nationhood. Our thoughts are with the millions of people across the world who embraced Madiba as their own, and who saw his cause as their cause."

Mandela's last formal public appearance was during the 2010 World Cup, when his country played host. He had most recently been hospitalized in Pretoria in June for a recurring lung infection, his fifth time in two years.

Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela


Countless celebrities paid tribute to the late political and cultural icon, including Oprah Winfrey.

"One of the great honors of my life was to be invited to Nelson Mandela's home, spend private time and get to know him," the OWN founder shared on her Instagram account, along with a photo of the smiling duo.

"He was everything you've ever heard and more—humble and unscathed by bitterness. And he always loved to tell a good joke. Being in his presence was like sitting with grace and majesty at the same time. He will always be my hero. His life was a gift to us all."

Aretha Franklin spoke about Mandela during an interview on Sirius XM's Joe Madison Show.

"Nelson Mandela to me, certainly being the obvious great leader of his country, and being the courageous man that he was, I kind of saw him in a context similar to Dr. King and Gandhi and great civil rights men such as yourself, the head of the NAACP [from] Detroit," the Queen of Soul said. "Great men who were out there on the front line fighting every day for justice and parity for our people and other people as well."

—Additional reporting by Lindsay Good

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