Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Nelson Mandela memorial - We will never see his like again, says US President Barack Obama

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown arrives for the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown arrives for the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: Members of the public attend the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr. Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: Members of the MK sing and dance during the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr. Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: Members of the public attend the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr. Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, left, watches as President Barrack Obama hugs South African President Jacob Zuma, right during the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Princess Letizia of Spain, center, speaks with Former U.S. President George W. Bush and his wife Laura during the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. Right is Retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Former British Prime Minister John Major, left, speaks with Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, and Former U.S. President George W. Bush, right during the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Former U.S. President George W. Bush, right, wave while Chelsea Clinton walks past during the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: A spectator watches a telecast of U.S. President Barack Obama as he speaks during the Nelson Mandela memorial service at Ellis Park on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
President Barrack Obama speaks to Nelson Mandela's widow Graca Machel during the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
In this image from TV, US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Cuban President Raul Castro at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, South Africa, in the rain for a memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela, Tuesday Dec. 10, 2013. The handshake between the leaders of the two Cold War enemies came during a ceremony that's focused on Mandela's legacy of reconciliation. Hundreds of foreign dignitaries and world heads of states gather Tuesday with thousands of South African people to celebrate the life, and mark the death, of Nelson Mandela who has became a global symbol of reconciliation. (AP Photo/SABC Pool)
President Barrack Obama embraces Nelson Mandela's former wife Winnie Madikizela?Mandela after making his speech during the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, near Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: U.S. President Barack Obama (L) greets former South African President F.W. de Klerk during the official memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: U.S. President Barack Obama (L) greets Cuban President Raul Castro and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff during the official memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton greets former British Prime Minister John Major at the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Nelson Mandela's former wife, listens to speeches during the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
In this image from TV, US President Barack Obama speaks to the assembled crowds at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, South Africa, in the rain for a memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela, Tuesday Dec. 10, 2013. Hundreds of foreign dignitaries and world heads of states gather Tuesday with thousands of South African people to celebrate the life, and mark the death, of Nelson Mandela who has became a global symbol of reconciliation. (AP Photo/SABC Pool)
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, left, and South African President Jacob Zuma stand at attention during the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
A man holds the official programme ahead of the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in the Johannesburg, South Africa township of Soweto, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Former British Prime Minister John Major, left, shakes hands with former U.S. President George W. Bush as they arrive for the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, near Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: Members of the public attend the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr. Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: Members of the public attend the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr. Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: Members of the public attend the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr. Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: Members of the public attend the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr. Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
In this image from TV, supermodel Naomi Campbell, left, arrives at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, South Africa, ahead of a memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela, Tuesday Dec. 10, 2013. Hundreds of foreign dignitaries and world heads of states gather Tuesday with thousands of South African people to celebrate the life, and mark the death, of Nelson Mandela who has became a global symbol of reconciliation. (AP Photo/SABC Pool)
In this image from TV, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, centre, arrives at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, South Africa, ahead of a memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela, Tuesday Dec. 10, 2013. Hundreds of foreign dignitaries and world heads of states gather Tuesday with thousands of South African people to celebrate the life, and mark the death, of Nelson Mandela who has became a global symbol of reconciliation. (AP Photo/SABC Pool)
In this image from TV, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott arrives at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, South Africa, ahead of a memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela, Tuesday Dec. 10, 2013. Hundreds of foreign dignitaries and world heads of states gather Tuesday with thousands of South African people to celebrate the life, and mark the death, of Nelson Mandela who has became a global symbol of reconciliation. (AP Photo/SABC Pool)
In this image from TV, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrives at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, South Africa, ahead of a memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela, Tuesday Dec. 10, 2013. Hundreds of foreign dignitaries and world heads of states gather Tuesday with thousands of South African people to celebrate the life, and mark the death, of Nelson Mandela who has became a global symbol of reconciliation. (AP Photo/SABC Pool)
Britains Prime Minister David Cameron arrives for the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
President Barack Obama waves to the crowd from the stands as he arrives for the memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela at the FNB stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: Members of the public attend the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr. Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: Members of the public attend the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr. Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: Members of the public attend the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr. Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: President Barack Obama (L) and first lady Michelle Obama look at a the program while attend the official memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: World leaders, including former French President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) and current French President Francois Hollande attend the official memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa.vä (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: (L-R) Cuban President Raul Castro, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Andrew Mlangeni and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon attend the official memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa.vä (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: South African actor Charlize Theron blows kisses to the audience as she arrives for the official memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa.vä (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Nelson Mandela's widow Graca Machel, right, and his former wife Winnie MadikizelaMandela, left, sit on stage during the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Spains Prince Felipe, center, arrives for the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Former Bishop Desmond Tutu, right, and Irish President Mary Robinson arrive for the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
President Barack Obama, left, and first lady Michelle Obama, right, arrive at Waterkloof Air Base for a memorial service in honor of former South African leader Nelson Mandela on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, in Centurion, South Africa. World leaders, celebrities, and citizens from all walks of life gathered for a memorial service on Tuesday to pay respects to Mandela. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
Former British Prime Minister John Major arrives for the memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela at the FNB stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Members of the Mandela family take their seats on the stand during the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, near Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday Dec. 10, 2013.(AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Images of Nelson Mandela though the years are flashed upon a screen during the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, near Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
President Barack Obama, left, and first lady Michelle Obama, right, arrive at Waterkloof Air Base for a memorial service in honor of former South African leader Nelson Mandela on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, in Centurion, South Africa. World leaders, celebrities, and citizens from all walks of life gathered for a memorial service on Tuesday to pay respects to Mandela. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
Lasers beam an image of former South African president Nelson Mandela, clan name, Madiba, projected onto Cape Town's Table Mountain, Monday Dec. 9, 2013 to honour Mandela on the eve of a memorial service to be held in Johannesburg. Mandela died last Thursday after a long illness after a long illness aged 95. Mandela will be buried in his hometown village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape Province on Monday. (AP Photo/Nardus Engelbrecht)
A mourner holds his arms up during the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: World leaders and dignitaries sit during the official memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
A general view of the arena during the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, near Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: Members of the public sing as they make their way by bus to the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: A passenger pries open the doors of a moving train carrying people to the Nelson Mandela memorial service to gain a view of the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: Members of the public walk towards the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: Members of the public sing and dance as they arrive for the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa., on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 09: A young South African girl names Malika is lifted by her mother to kiss a statue of former South African President Nelson Mandela before a service conducted by Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the Nelson Mandela Foundation on December 9, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Mandela, also known as Madiba, passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, left, is greeted after arriving for the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
The former wife of Nelson Mandela, Winnie MadikizelaMandela, center right, arrives for the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, near Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
Actress Charlize Theron waits with musician Bono for the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Actress Charlize Theron attends the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
French President Francois Hollande, centre right, speaks with former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, 2nd left, ahead of the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, near Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
South Africa rugby union captain Francois Pienaar waits for the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, left, and Belgian King Philippe arrive for the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, near Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
A mourner poses with his homemade hat before the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: Members of the public celebrate as they arrive at Nasrec Station by train to attend the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: Spectators watch a telecast of the Nelson Mandela memorial service at Ellis Park on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: People wave flags with the image of Nelson Mandela while attending a telecast of the Nelson Mandela memorial service at Ellis Park on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: A man wearing an ANC top featuring Nelson Mandela, makes his way by train to the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: Spectators watch a telecast of the Nelson Mandela memorial service at Ellis Field on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: People sing and dance while attending a telecast of the Nelson Mandela memorial service at Ellis Park on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: Rain falls on a poster of Nelson Mandela sitting in the window of a bus outside of Ellis Park before a telecast of the Nelson Mandela memorial service on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: A spectator watches a telecast of the Nelson Mandela memorial service at Ellis Park on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: Singer Bono and his wife Ali Hewson attend the official memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa.vä (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair embraces a guest as he arrives for the official memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa.vä (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan arrives for the official memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: Singer Bono and South African actor Charlize Theron arrive for the official memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa.vä (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: British Prime Minister David Cameron speaks to the media as he attends the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: Members of the public sing and dance inside the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: Members of the public walk towards the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: Members of the public walk towards the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: A man holds up a page from a newespaper amongst members of the public singing and dancing inside the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: A man sings passionately as he waits for the Nelson Mandela memorial service at the FNB Stadium, on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of December 5, 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Dignitaries and world leaders have joined tens of thousands of people gathering at the Johannesburg FNB Stadium to celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela in a memorial service.

The Prime Minister David Cameron is among those who have joined Mr Mandela’s surviving predecessors at the special commemoration service, which started at approximately 10am GMT today.

 

Rain continued to pour during the ceremony as Cyril Ramaphosa, deputy president of the ANC made repeated calls for "discipline" from the crowd and "respect" following loud boos when cameras showed South African president Jacob Zuma on screen. In heavy contrast, applause rang out from across the stadium when US President Barack Obama was presented to the audience.

 

Mr Obama was met with resounding cheers when he took to the stage to pay tribute to the former South African president, who he said was "a giant of history, who moved a nation towards justice, and in the process, moved billions around the world."

 

He told the audience: "His struggle was your struggle, his triumph was your triumph. Your dignity and your hope found expression in his life, and your freedom, your democracy is his cherished legacy."

 

He said Mr Mandela not only freed the prisoners, he freed the jailers as well.

 

"He was not a bust made of a marble, he was a man of flesh and blood, a son and a husband, a father and a friend, and that’s why we learnt so much from him, and why we can learn from him still."

 

He added: "Mandela taught us the power of action, but he also taught us the power of ideas. He understood that ideas cannot be contained by prison walls, or extinguished by a snipers bullet."

 

He cited the South African concept of "ubuntu", the idea that humanity is bound together, and said Mr Mandela "understood the ties that bind the human spirit".

 

Mr Obama criticised the world leaders "who claim solidarity with his struggle for freedom but do not tolerate dissent from their own people", and said "there are too many of us on the side lines comfortable with complacency or cynicism".

 

Drawing his speech to a close, he told the thousands gathered: "We will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again".

 

The US President's sentiments were echoed by his South African counterpart, who delivered the service's keynote address.

 

Mr Zuma was again booed as he prepared to speak, and the ceremony organisers had no choice but to interject with a praise song from the choir while dissenting voices died down.

 

After a pause, the country's president told the assembled crowd of more than 90,000 people: "Fellow mourners, there is no one like Madiba. He was one of a kind."

 

Mr Zuma described Mandela as a "fearless freedom fighter", and said: "Madiba laid the foundation for a better life for all - which was the rallying cry of his presidency."

 

As whistling and singing continued to ring out through the stadium, Mr Zuma spoke in English, giving an account of South Africa's history under Mandela.

 

After briefly addressing the country in Zulu, he then turned to plans for the future, saying: "Compatriots and friends, today Madiba is no more. He leaves behind a nation that loves him dearly, a continent that is truly proud to call him African.

 

"He leaves the people of the world, who embraced him as their own beloved icon. Most importantly, he leaves behind a deeply entrenched legacy of freedom, human rights and democracy in this nation.

 

"United in our diversity, we will continue working to build a nation free of poverty, hunger, homelessness and inequality.

 

"We will continue working to fulfil his desire for a better Africa."

 

Earlier, President Castro spoke via a translator and said Cuba has had the privilege of fighting alongside the African nations.

 

He said: “We shall never forget Mandela's moving homage to our common struggle, when on the occasion of his visit to our country he said, and I quote, ‘the Cuban people have a special place in the heart of the peoples of Africa'."

 

He remembered the “ongoing affection” Mandela had for Fidel Castro, which he described as a “symbol of the fraternal relations between Africans and Cubans”.

 

The service opened with the stadium crowd singing the national anthem led by a choir, followed with interfaith prayers opened by Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein. Former Robben Island inmate and friend Andrew Mlangeni then took to the stage to pay tribute to the man he said "created hope when there was none".

 

"Madiba's greatness as a leader stems from his humility and his great belief in collective leadership," he said.

 

Family member General Thanduxolo Mandela said: "Our generation needs new leaders in the calibre of Madiba". His grandchildren paid tribute to their grandfather in eulogies. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said South Africa has lost a hero, and added: "We have lost a father". He continued: "Nelson Mandela is at rest, his long walk complete."

 

The Nobel Peace Prize winner died aged 95 last Thursday following a long term lung infection. The service comes as part of a series of commemorations taking place before Mr Mandela's funeral on Sunday.

 

Mr Mandela's former wife Winnie Madikizela Mandela joined his widow Graca Machel and other members of his family at the stadium.

 

The football arena, where Mr Mandela made his last public appearance in 2010, has a capacity of 95,000, although bad weather is believed to have contributed to the many empty seats. The service is also being shown at three overflow stadiums in Dobsonville, Orlando and Rand.

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a book of condolence in the South African embassy in Moscow earlier on Monday.

 

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Labour leader Ed Miliband are in attendance, along with former Prime Ministers Sir John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

 

In a Parliamentary tribute on Monday, Mr Cameron said Mr Mandela was a “towering figure in our lifetime” and added: “When looking back over history it can be easy to see victories over prejudice and hatred as somehow inevitable.

 

"As the years lengthen and events recede, it can seem as though the natural tide of progress continually bears humanity ever upwards, away from brutality and darkness and towards something better. But it is not so.

 

"Progress is not just handed down as a gift, it is won through struggle - the struggle of men and women who believe things can be better, who refuse to accept the world as it is but dream of what it can be. Nelson Mandela was the embodiment of that struggle.

 

"He did not see himself as the helpless victim of history - he wrote it."

 

Francois Hollande of France, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, vice president of China Li Yuanchao and India's President Pranab Mukherjee are all in attendance at the four-hour long service, along with Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.

 

After the memorial service Mr Mandela's body will lie in state at South Africa's seat of government, the Union Buildings in Pretoria, until he is laid to rest in a state funeral at his hometown of Qunu in the Eastern Cape.

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