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.