Nelson Mandela Memorial: Charlize Theron, Bono and President Barack Obama Pay Their Respects

Tens of thousands pack Johannesburg's FNB Stadium Dec. 10 to pay tribute to late South African leader

By Rebecca Macatee Dec 10, 2013 4:10 PMTags
Charlize Theron, BonoODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Tens of thousands of people packed into Johannesburg's FNB Stadium on Tuesday, Dec. 10, to honor and celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela.

Charlize Theron, a native South African, Bono, a friend and fellow activist, and Naomi Campbell were among the celebrities paying their respects to the revered peacemaker. There were also countless world leaders, including President Barack Obama, coming together to remember and pay their respects to the beloved South African statesman.

"To the people of South Africa –of every race and every walk of life—the world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us," said Obama, per CNN. He also praised Mandela for playing such an integral role in the ending of apartheid, calling him a "giant of history."

Herman Verwey/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images

"With honesty, regardless of our station or our circumstance, we must ask: How well have I applied his lessons in my own life?" Obama said. "It is a question I ask myself—as a man and as a president. We know that like South Africa, the United States had to overcome centuries of racial subjugation. As was true here, it took sacrifice—the sacrifices of countless people, known and unknown—to see the dawn of a new day."

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South African President Jacob Zuma also praised the man known as "Madiba," saying, "Everyone has had a Mandela moment when this world icon has touched their lives."

"There is no one like Madiba," added President Zuma. "He was one of a kind."

A state funeral for Mandela will be held Sunday. He is survived by wife Graça Machel and a number of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.