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Madiba funeral set for 15 December

An official memorial service will be held at FNB Stadium on Tuesday 10 December.

Former president Nelson Mandela will be laid to rest at Qunu in the Eastern Cape on 15 December, President Jacob Zuma said on 6 December 2013 at a news conference in Johannesburg. Picture: GCIS/SAPA.

JOHANNESBURG - Former president Nelson Mandela will be laid to rest on 15 December in Qunu in the Eastern Cape, President Jacob Zuma revealed on Friday.

Zuma announced Mandela's passing shortly before midnight on Thursday, 5 December.

Speaking at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) headquarters in Auckland Park, Johannesburg, the president outlined the procedures over the coming days and weeks.

"We should all work together to organise the most befitting funeral for this outstanding son of our country and the father of our young nation."

Zuma says Madiba's remains will lie in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria from 11 to 13 December.

During that time, official memorial services will be held in all provinces and regions.

The official memorial service will be held at FNB Stadium in Nasrec on 10 December.

At the same time, government has declared 8 December a day of national prayer and reflection.

Zuma honoured the former president during his announcement.

"He was a symbol of reconciliation, unity, love, human rights and justice in our country and in the world."

He thanked the nation for, "The dignity, respect and support that has been provided to the Mandela family from the period of Madiba's illness to his eventual passing."

Zuma added, "The outpouring love that we experienced locally and abroad was unprecedented. It demonstrates the calibre of a leader that Madiba was. We will always love Madiba for teaching us that it is possible to overcome hatred and anger in order to build a new nation and a new society."

The president also thanked world leaders for their messages of support, which he says are still pouring in.

Zuma says the coming days will be spent mourning as well as celebrating the life and work of the global icon.

"Long live Madiba. I thank you," Zuma said while ending his speech.

Earlier on Friday, Zuma visited the Mandela home in Houghton where he thanked South Africans for the outpouring of support for the family.

President Jacob Zuma arrives at Nelson Mandela's home in Houghton on 6 December 2013. Picture: AFP.

Relatives have also been visited by a string of high-profile South Africans, including ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister of Arts and Culture Paul Mashatile.

The sitting will start at 2pm and members of the public will be allowed to be part of the extraordinary session.

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