Johannesburg - US President Barack Obama has arrived in South Africa for memorial service honouring Nelson Mandela.
Obama, President Jacob Zuma, several leaders of foreign states and international organisations, as well as Nelson Mandela’s grandchildren and friends, were due to address Tuesday’s official memorial service at the FNB Stadium in Soweto.
Obama will deliver a 20-minute speech during the service where tens of thousands of South Africans are expected to pack the stadium. Obama is expected to speak of Mandela's influence on SA and on his own life, while also reflecting on the complexity of Mandela's rise from anti-apartheid fighter and prisoner to president and global icon.
Obama, former President George W Bush and their wives arrived on Tuesday morning at a military base near Johannesburg after a 16-hour trip from Washington.
The ceremony will be conducted by ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC national chairwoman Baleka Mbete. Zuma is to deliver the keynote address near the close of the ceremony, followed by a sermon by Bishop Ivan Abrahams and a vote of thanks by Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane.
Other speakers will include AU Commission chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, Cuban President Raul Castro, Indian President Pranab Muckerjee, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba – the current chairman of the Southern African Development Community.