Updated: Fri, 06 Dec 2013 21:45:00 GMT | By Agencies

Mandela to be laid to rest on December 15

A week of national mourning would include an open-air memorial service at Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium — the site of the 2010 World Cup final — on December 10


Mandela to be laid to rest on December 15 (© Reuters)

Johannesburg: Former South African President Nelson Mandela will be laid to rest at his ancestral village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape on December 15, President Jacob Zuma said on Friday.

A week of national mourning would include an open-air memorial service at Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium — the site of the 2010 World Cup final — on December 10, Zuma said.

India would be sending a "very high-level" delegation for the funeral of South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela who died on at the age of 95, an official said Friday.

After the dates of the funeral are worked out, then a "very high-level delegation from India would go" for the funeral, said Indian external affairs ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin at a briefing in New Delhi.

Both "the Prime Minister and President have indicated the reverence we hold Nelson Mandela in ... His death is a loss for South Africa and India ... it is certain that a very high-level delegation will go," the spokesman said.

He said the Indian high commissioner was in touch with the South African authorities over the funeral.

Mandela was recipient of the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award. He was a believer in the principles of Mahatma Gandhi, who served in South Africa and later went on to lead India to freedom.

Mandela served as president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described Mandela as a "giant among men" and called him "a true Gandhian".

" ... Not only did he represent the conscience of the world, he also remained a beacon of hope for those struggling against oppression and injustice long after he had led his own people to victory over such ills," the Prime Minister said in his tribute to Mandela.

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