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Saying goodbye to Madiba: Event planner

A comprehensive guide to the events leading up to Mandela’s funeral next Sunday.

Nelson Mandela smiles as he poses during a photo session after his first press conference after his release from jail. Cape Town, 12 February 1990. Picture: AFP.

Government on Saturday outlined plans for the coming days ahead of Nelson Mandela's funeral next Sunday. Further information will be made available throughout the week. For a quick breakdown, refer to Mandela events: Brief information guide.

Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane on Saturday conveyed government's sincere appreciation to South Africans and people from around the world for their overwhelming response to Mandela's death.

"We have witnessed extraordinary scenes of support and celebration of the life of Madiba. We greatly appreciate these demonstrations of humanity and solidarity."

Chabane then encouraged the public to participate in the various main events planned for the week ahead.

Events will take place in all nine provinces.

"We are confident that the spirit of ubuntu [human kindness] will permeate the collective, global celebration of an extraordinary leader and self-sacrificing son of our country."

Chabane says the National Joint Operational Centre (NATJOC) of South Africa's security forces will manage the events.

The South African Police Service (SAPS), the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), metro police, intelligence agencies and representatives of various departments and entities will cooperate in the management of proceedings.

Many SANDF members have been called back from leave with immediate effect to support the operations.

At the same time, Chabane says government will keep the Mandela family as involved as possible so to ensure all events conform to their wishes and cultural norms.

OUTLINE OF KEY EVENTS

The minister says Madiba's body is now being prepared to lie in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria later in the week.

In the interim, work has begun there as well as at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, Mthatha and Qunu in the Eastern Cape and at ports of entry into the country to prepare for the events related to the state funeral.

Sunday 8 December was declared by President Jacob Zuma as a day of prayer and reflection.

He called on the nation to use the day to attend their respective places of worship or to reflect on Madiba's life from their homes and in community spaces.

On Tuesday 10 December , FNB Stadium will host the official memorial service. The event will be attended by members of the public, officials and world leaders.

"This will give ordinary people and public leaders an opportunity to celebrate Madiba's life collectively," Chabane says.

The minister says the guest list for the memorial as well as the state funeral will be made available soon.

He adds that foreign heads of state will have the choice of attending either event.

Road closures for the memorial event:

Chabane says the following roads and interchanges near the venue will be closed and controlled by law enforcement agencies:

- N1 and Rand Show Road

  • N1 and Soweto Highway

  • N1 and 17

  • N1 and Nasrec offramp

  • Greenwood Road and Booysens Reserve

  • Nasrec and Main Reef Roads

"We request mourners to give the organising authorities their fullest cooperation, as we endeavour to ensure that the memorial service and other events are dignified and befitting for Madiba," Chabane says.

Further details as to times, other transport interruptions and venue capacity will be provided as they become available, he adds.

On Wednesday 11 December , the City of Cape Town will host its official memorial service at the Cape Town Stadium.

Mayor Patricia de Lille says thousands are expected to attend the memorial where a number of artists will perform.

She says in a bid to maintain order and safety there, there will be a coupon system to regulate entry into the stadium. A maximum of five coupons are available per person free of charge.

Meanwhile, Mandela's body will lie in state at the seat of government, the Union Buildings, from Wednesday 11 December to Friday 13 December .

There, South Africans and selected international visitors and guests will be able to view his remains.

Chabane says during this time, Mandela's remains will be transported daily between 1 Military Hospital, Thaba Tshwane and the Union Buildings.

He says details of this route and times will be provided in due course.

"Government invites mourners to line this route and form a public guard of honour for Tata Madiba when the remains are transported," he announced.

"Again, we call on members of the public to cooperate with the authorities to ensure that this event is dignified and secure."

Away from the memorial route, members of the public wishing to pay their final respects will be shuttled to the Union Buildings from two central venues in Tshwane that will be announced in due course.

Only mourners who report to these venues will be allowed to visit the Union Buildings and view the remains.

Cameras and cellphones will not be allowed at the Union Buildings.

On Saturday 14 December , the focus will shift to the Eastern Cape.

The former president's remains will be transported to his home province from the Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria where the ruling party will bid Madiba farewell.

At the same time, a procession will take place from Mthatha to Qunu where the Thembu community will conduct a traditional ceremony.

Finally, on Sunday 15 December , the state funeral will take place.

The service and interment ceremony will take place at Madiba's home and final resting place in Qunu.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE FROM AFAR

Chabane says most of the key events will be broadcast live on television, saying this will help reduce congestion and potential disaster at key venues.

At the same time, a number of public viewing areas are being established at various points around the country to allow as many people as possible to follow and witness the historic occasions.

The exact locations of the viewing areas have not been made public as yet.

The minister says condolence books will also be available at municipal, provincial and other government offices around the country, as well as South Africa's diplomatic missions abroad.

He says details of these sites are being posted on national, provincial and municipal websites as well as social media accounts of government.

Updates will become available in coming days as more information becomes available.

"Government will keep South Africans and the international community updated as completely and transparently as possible, in order to make this farewell to the late president as inclusive and popular as possible."