Mandela family: We are melancholic but we do not despair

2013-12-08 17:59

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Both Graça Machel and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela are aware of the love, support and care extended to the family “in this hour of need”, family spokesperson retired Lieutenant-General Themba Matanzima has said.

“Both our mothers ... express their conviction that Nelson Mandela, like a flower, will continue to blossom forever in all your hearts.

“The family of our departed dear father is comforted in the knowledge that the world so deeply shares our sense of loss for one of Africa’s greatest sons. We are melancholic but we do not despair. Instead, we are filled with hope,” said Matanzima.

Thanking the public for the multi-faith prayers hosted throughout the country on behalf of the Mandelas, Matanzima asked the public to keep Madiba's dream alive “in the way in which we honour humanity in each other”.

The government has also unveiled plans for the official memorial service on Tuesday. About 80 000 people are expected at the 94 000-capacity stadium, and about 41 trains will be available to ferry the public to the stadium and overflow venues. Rea Vaya buses will also be available as no transport will be allowed anywhere near the stadium.

Collins Chabane, the minister for monitoring and evaluation, said the event would begin at 11am on Tuesday, but the gates would open at 6am. About 90 big screens will be erected throughout the country, and will go live from Tuesday until next Monday when Madiba’s statue will be erected at the Union Buildings.

International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said 53 heads of state and governments, and eminent persons had confirmed attendance on Tuesday. Some of them will get the opportunity to speak on behalf of their countries or regions – the programme would be finalised shortly.

Those who are expected to attend include US President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, and former presidents George W. Bush, Carter and Bill Clinton and their spouses.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will be accompanied by former heads of state Sarney, De Melo, Cardoso and Lula da Silva.

Chabane said from Wednesday Mandela’s body will be transported from One Military hospital from 7am. Public viewings at the Union Buildings start at 10am, until 5:30pm on Wednesday, and from 8am on Thursday.

For more information, the public is urged to visit and

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