Obama, Raul Castro To Speak At Nelson Mandela Memorial

Memorial service on Tuesday for late South African leader

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Jim Watson / AFP / Getty Images

US President Barack Obama looks out the window from the cell where Nelson Mandela was once jailed on Robben Island, on June 30, 2013.

President Barack Obama will be among the world leaders speaking at a Tuesday memorial service for the late Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, the South African government announced Monday.

Among the other speakers honoring the former South African president and anti-apartheid leader are members of Mandela’s family, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Chinese Vice-President Li Yuanchao, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and  Cuban President Raúl Castro.

Aboard Air Force One, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes said Obama will speak for about 10-15 minutes at the memorial service. “He’ll reflect on what Nelson Mandela meant to the people of South Africa, to him personally as well,” Rhodes said. The White House said Obama was not expected to hold formal meetings with any of the foreign leaders while he is in South Africa.

South African President Jacob Zuma will offer the “keynote” address at the service, being held at a soccer stadium and simulcast at other large venues, in the middle of a 10-day mourning period following Mandela’s death last week. According to the program, the service is expected to last at least four hours.

The event is likely to rival the funeral of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s in 1965.

4 comments
DREGstudios
DREGstudios

Mandela’s life was the embodiment of the human spirit. His energy will uplift every corner of the globe which battles for equal rights for its citizens. Hopefully we may do his legacy justice by starting at home and empowering our citizens once again. I was compelled to pay homage to Nelson Mandela with my art by creating a portrait of the world leader In Memoriam at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2013/12/in-memoriam-nelson-mandela.html Drop by and let us know how his strength has inspired you!

manlyman
manlyman

He looks good in a cell.

manlyman
manlyman

Barack and Raul. Kindred spirits.

BenjaminStephens
BenjaminStephens

YOU WOULD LOOK GOOD BURIED IN THE DIRT WITH ONLY YOUR HEAD SHOWING! POUR HONEY ON YOUR HEAD,AND LET THE ANT'S FINISH YOU OFF!