The official memorial for former president Nelson Mandela is being held at FNB Stadium in Soweto today. IOL will be collating information as it reaches us from Independent Newspaper journalists and from wire agencies, and placing it in this story, most recent items at the top. Time allowing, they will be edited, or they may be placed as is.
15h23 - He believed in collective leadership, said he was not a saint. The SA that we see today is a reflection of Madiba and many others like him who sacrificed their lives. Today Madiba is no more, leaves behind a nation that loves him dearly. Leave proud continent. Leaves behind legacy of freedom and democracy. We will continue working to build a nation free of inequality. Tomorrow people accompany Madiba on last journey to Union Buildings. Announces the Union Buildings ampthitheatre will be called the Nelson Mandela amphitheatre.
15h18 - Laid foundation for country's now successful fight against HIV and Aids. Global 46664 campaign gave rise to Mandela Day. July 18 Nelson Mandela day.
15h14 - He reminded us of our common humanity. Managed fears of minority, expectations of the majority. Never hesitated to speak his mind when it was necessary to do so. Many leaders have experienced his sharp tongue. Embraced 1995 Wold Cup rugby team. Hallmark of his presidency. Sports teams yearned for Madiba magic. Under his leadership of new government focussed on righting historical injustices. Close to 800 apartheid laws removed from statute books.
15h09 - 20th anniversary today of his getting Nobel peace prize. Madiba's love for peace evident in the work he did on the continent. Wold leaders descended on SA for Mandela inauguration. Today the world stands still again. Madiba was one of a kind. World speaks fondly of his love for unity.
15h05 - His release a remarkable moment in world history. World stood still watching tall imposing figure walking into world he had left 27 years before. Downtrodden people suddenly saw signs that freedom would be attained in their lifetime. In bumpy times brought us back from brink of catastophe. First elections largely peaceful because of his leadership. - IOL Reporter
15h03 - Madiba was fearless freedom party. Being a lawyer he understood the consequences of his actions, but knew unjust system could not last forever. The struggle became Madiba's life. Was at forefront of radical change in the ANC in the 40s. First commander in chief of MK in the early 1960s. Paid dearly for his beliefs. Sentenced to life imprisonment - never lost his fighting spirit. For 27 years people spoke of him in hushed tones. But powerful name lived on on. Continued to inspire our people every single day.
14h58 - Speaks of song about Mandela, accurate depiction of him. His passing has marked an unprecedented outpouring of grief - tinged with celebration. Thanks heads of state and delegations - gratitude for messages of condolences that we continue to receive.We are being comforted by millions around the world. Dear South Africans - we have lived in the same time as Madiba, a cause for celebration.
14h53 - President Jacov Zuma begins to deliver keynote address. Greeting dignitaries. Greetings in various languages to crowd, which responds.
14h50 - Choir leads crowd in singing.
14h47 - Ramaphosa continues list of visiting dignitaries. Asks Zuma to take to stand - loud roar from crowd. Praise-singer at the mike.
14h44 Castro (Raul) remembers bond between Fidel Castro and Mandela. Honour and glory forever to the great comrade Nelson Mandela.
14h37 - Cuban president Raul Castro addresses the crowd as mourners begin leaving the stadium.
14.25pm - Ramaphosa asking the crowd in Zulu not to embarrass SA in front of visitors. He begs the crowd to be respectful to the heads of state, says grievances will be addressed once guests have left.
14.20pm - Namibia President Hifikepunye Pohamba speaks. "Today we are gathered as one family, united by an African son of the soil, a towering giant. He sacried for humanity with humility. Because he believed in SA, he opted for forgiveness. To us in Nambia he was a comrade-in-arms..a senior brother. President Pohamba (Namibia): Our brothers and sisters of SA with who we shared common struggle against apartheid, we say. Let's stand together again in the fight against inequality."
14.13pm - Large number of people now filing out of the stadium. They attribute it to the teaming rain and cold and that the person they came to see, Barack Obama, has finished his speech. - Brendan Roane, The Star
14.05pm - Chinese Vice-President Li Yuanchao: He was a known friend of China and a household name in China.
14.00pm - Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff speaking in Portuguese with translator. Bring feelings of deep sorrow from people of Brazil.
13.52pm - Obama: It always seems impossible until it is done - South Africa shows we can choose peace.
We will never the likes of NM again, but let me say to young people of Africa and the world, you too can make his life's work your own.
I will always fall short of Madiba's example, he makes me want to be a better man.
Let us search for his strength, his largeness of spirit. When the night is dark, let us think of Mandela. I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul. We will miss him deeply.
13.49pm - Obama: Finally Mandela understood the ties that bind the human spirit. There's a word ubuntu - a oneness to humanity, we achieve by sharing ourselves with others.
We remember the gestures large and small, that revealed the depths of his empathy.
Madiba freed the prisoner and the gaoler as well. He changed laws but he also changed hearts.
Madiba's passing a time of mourning and a time of celebration, but should also prompt a time of self-reflection. I ask myself as a man and a president - how do I apply his lessons in my life.
Our work is not yet done. We still see children suffering, broken schools, people in prison for their beliefs. And so we too must act on behalf of justice and peace. Too many leaders claim kinship with Madiba and do not tolerate dissent from their people.
13.43pm - Like Dr King he would give potent voice to the pains of the oppressed. He held country together when threatened to tear apart. Erected constitutional democracy.... Given the sweep of his life, tempting to remember as an icon, detached from tawdry affairs of men. Madiba himself resisted such a lifeless portrait. Instead insisted on sharing his doubts and fears. He could admit to imperfection, fallen, human, michevious, why we loved him so. Tells what is possible in our own lives. Showed us the power of action, taking risks for our ideals.
Like early giants of the ANC, Madiba disciplined his anger and channelled into platforms and strategies for action.
Quotes Rivonia - ideal I will die for. Mandela taught us the power of ideas, reason, the need to study. Used decades of prison to sharpen his arguments. Mandela demonstrated that actions and ideas no enough, must be chiselled in laws and institutions.
13.35pm - Obama: To Graca and family, President Zuma and government - honour to be with you today, to celebrate a life like no other. To people of SA -big cheer - the world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us. Your dignity and hope found expression in his life. Hard to eulogise any man - the essential truth of a person, the quiet joys and sorrows - how much harder to do so for a giant of history.
13.32pm - US President Barack Obama starts to speak with loud cheers from the crowd.
13.31pm - American gospel singer Kirk Franklin performs.
13.26pm - Dlamini-Zuma: Tata, you have lived a beautiful life, you have bequeathed us with a better world than one you were born in... Of course we shall miss you, but we know you are watching over us. Let freedom reign, hamba kahle Madiba!!
13.22pm - Dlamini-Zuma: Africa is in mourning and at the same time celebrating the life of a gallant fighter. We stand proud of you Mandela, represents the best of African values. Always willing to serve, prepared to listen to all views. Talking to him was always a lesson.
He could be resolutely firm and stood his ground. SA's struggles were closely linked to Africa's struggles (he said in 1949). He counted on solidarity when went looking for support across the continent in 1962. When he took seat as first president of a democratic SA he paid tribute to our pan African struggles.
13.17pm - Dlamini-Zuma is speaking on behalf of the AU. Ramaphosa interrupts her to appeal for people behind stage to tone down singing. "Let's hope it helps,” he says.
13.15pm Next Speaker: AU Commission Chair Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
13.11pm - Sibongile Khumalo sings.
13.10pm - Baleka Mbete acknowledges and welcomes various leaders. A loud roar erupts for Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.
While Mbete is speaking Bill Clinton arrives.
13.04pm - Ban Ki-moon: This stadium holds 10s of 1000s of people but even area as big as African continent could not contain our pain today. One of the greatest leaders of our time. He taught by example.
13.01pm - Ban Ki-moon addresses Mandela’s memorial on behalf of the United Nations."I offer deepest of condolences to family, Graca, Winnie and the people of SA. South Africa has lost a hero, a father..the world has lost a beloved friend and mentor."
12.56pm - US President Barack Obama arrives at the stadium. Obama receives wild cheers while Ramaphosa appeals for discipline. - Twitter
12.54pm - Cyril Ramaphosa welcomes countries who are here and calls upon Madiba's grandchildren and great grandchildren.
"We salute you," his granddaughter Andile Mandela said.
She thanked all the heads of state who flew to South Africa to come pay tribute to Mandela.
The anti-apartheid icon had 18 grandchildren. Three grandchildren gave short tributes. - Sapa
12.52pm - General Thanduxolo Mandela: “Mandela family enter into solemn covenant to recommit ourselves to ideals Mandela stood for. He would accept no less. Entreat you to do the same. Gone from our eyes but never from our hearts and minds. Let us dedicate ourselves to the sacred journey.” - IOL reporter
12.48pm - General Thanduxolo Mandela paying tribute on behalf of the family: "Family feels thankfulness for that wonderful life; extends gratitude for thoughts and prayers of worldwide religions. Burden of pain and sorrow lessened by outpouring on national and international grief. We share him with the world.
He mingled with kings, queens, leaders but core of being was a man of the people.
Tata a son of Africa you will always be remembered.” - IOL reporter
12.42- Mlangeni: “He inspired us all by entering the den of the enemy. He created hope when there was none. Madiba fought against prejudice, aimed to unite all colours and creeds. I became one of Mandela's first recruits in the MK. Madiba's greatness as a leader stems from his humility and his beliefs. God bless Madiba, May his soul rest in peace!!"
12.36pm - Fellow Rivonia trialist and Robben Island inmate Andrew Mlangeni addresses Mandela memorial at FNB Stadium:"I've been privileged to say something about Mandela and how he touched my life and many others...
“Nelson Mandela touched many lives throught the world. Madiba looking down on us and there is no doubt he is smiling as he watches the beloved countrymen celebrate his legacy.
“He was an incomparable source of (unclear) kindness.” - IOL reporter
12.30pm - Various religious leaders offered up prayers for former president Nelson Mandela at his memorial service at the FNB Stadium south of Johannesburg on Tuesday.
SA Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein compared Mandela to Joseph in the Bible.
He said that just like Joseph, Mandela spent years in prison, was released from prison, preached forgiveness, and went on to become a leader of his nation.
Iman Ebrahim Bham said Mandela made selfless efforts and lived in a path of peace and reconciliation.
"Madiba never lost an opportunity to reconcile people," said Bham.
Chair of the Maha Sabha Ashwin Trikamjee recited a Hindu prayer.
Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba said: "We say to Madiba, go forth revolutionary soul... In the name of God who created you, suffered with you, and liberated you. Go home Madiba."
During the prayers, Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu was seen sunk low in his chair with his hands over his head. Mandela's wife Graca Machel listened intently to the speakers, with her lips pursed together.
After the prayers, ANC chairwoman Baleka Mbete sang "Mandela, there is none like you" in Setswana.
The crowds stood up and joined her, moving in time to the song under their umbrellas. - Sapa
12.27pm - ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa welcomed guests to the memorial for former president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium, in Soweto, on Tuesday.
"Today we reflect on our memories of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela," he told the crowd.
"Today's memorial service should help each of us to gather our memories of Nelson Mandela."
Ramaphosa said it was a time to reflect on a life spent taking care of oppressed South Africans.
"He was our teacher and our mentor and he never gave up on us.... This is the man we have come to say farewell to," he said.
Mandela could finally rest and enjoy the view of South Africa, he said.
"His long walk has ended, but ours is just beginning." - Sapa
12.16am - ANC deputy president Cyil Ramaphosa: "We are here to tell Madiba that his long walk is over.” - Twitter
12.10pm - ANC deputy president Cyil Ramaphosa addresses the crowds at Mandela memorial. - Twitter
12.04pm - National anthem signals start to memorial.
12.03pm - Nelson Mandela's ex-wife Winnie Mandela bent down to embrace Graca Machel before taking her own seat at the former president's memorial service at the FNB Stadium in Soweto on Tuesday.
They held onto each other for a few moments, both clad in black jackets, dresses and turbans.
Winnie took her seat three seats to the left of Graca. She smiled when greeted. Graca stared ahead, her face drawn.
Both women were loudly cheered by the crowd. - Sapa
11.56am - President Jacob Zuma received both cheers and boos as he made his way onto the stage for the memorial service of former president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto on Tuesday.
Flanked by two of his four wives, Gloria Bongekile Ngema and Thobeka Stacy Mabhija, he took his seat while greeting various dignitaries.
A number of people in the crowd made a rolling hand signal, usually interpreted to mean change is wanted, as he walked on, dressed in a dark suit. - Sapa
11.49am - Nelson Mandela's ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela arrived shortly after 11.30pm at the FNB Stadium to loud cheers from the crowd on Tuesday.
"Winnie, Winnie, Winnie," reverberated through the stadium.
The crowd roared again when she moved to the main stage.
The service, which was scheduled to begin at 11am, was delayed as some dignitaries were still arriving. - Sapa
11.39am - High profile guests at the memorial for former president Nelson Mandela began taking their seats on the main stage at the FNB stadium in Soweto on Tuesday.
The dignitaries formed a sea of black as they walked across the pitch to their seats with umbrellas raised to shield themselves from pouring rain.
ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa began addressing the crowd, and an army band marched.
Mandela's widow Graca Machel, who was sombre in a black coat, dress and turban, sat on one of the stages placed on the pitch.
Also present was Mandela's grandson, Ndaba Mandela, and other Mandela relatives.
The more recent arrivals included United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, former British prime minister Tony Blair, the Springbok rugby team, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and businessman Patrice Motsepe.
They were dropped off by a series of luxury vehicles. - Sapa
11.30am - The crowd were elated to see Mother of the Nation Winnie Madikizela-Mandela arrive at FNB Stadium.
ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa has taken to the stage to welcome guests. - Candice Bailey, The Star
11.24am - Rapturous applause for former president Thabo Mbeki as he takes the stage at the Madiba memorial, he gives a small wave to the crowd. - Brendan Roane, The Star
11.15am - Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife Camilla Parker-Bowles arrive.- Candice Bailey, The Star
11.13am - The atmosphere at FNB Stadium was electric on Tuesday as hundreds of people danced ahead of the official memorial service for former president Nelson Mandela.
"Mandela my president, my president!" people chanted and jumped.
Liberation songs could be heard across the stadium as the downpour continued.
"Nelson Mandela, akekho ofana nawe (there is no one like you)," they sang. - Sapa
* ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday he was interested in the dynamics of some of the country representatives gathering at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela, eNCA reported.
"Obama and Cuba: I think it will be quite exciting," he told the television station with a chuckle.
US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro Ruz are both scheduled speakers at the service which is due to kick off at 11am.
"It's quite an international event because Mandela... was an international icon," said Mantashe. - Sapa
* A who's who of the international stage were arriving at the FNB Stadium in Soweto on Tuesday morning, ahead of the start of the memorial service for Nelson Mandela.
Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu alighted from a minibus, beaming alongside some of his colleagues from the group known as The Elders, of which Mandela was a founding member.
Dressed in his maroon robes, Tutu held hands with former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari and former UN chief Kofi Annan, accompanied by former US president Jimmy Carter and former Irish president Mary Robinson, as they made their way to a lift.
U2 frontman and philanthropist Bono, with his trademark pair of red glasses, also made his way into the stadium.
President Jacob Zuma arrived with an entourage, along with a number of senior government and ANC officials.
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan, India's President Pranab Mukherjee and Cuba's President Raul Castro Ruz were among heads of state that arrived.
Long-time friends of Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada and George Bizos, also made their way in.
South Africa's last apartheid head of state FW De Klerk arrived with his wife Elita Georgiades.
Former Springbok captain Francois Pienaar was in the stands wearing a formal Springbok blazer, along with current captain Jean de Villiers. - Sapa
* There were cheers all around as Patrice Motsepe and his wife Precious entered the VIP area of the FNB Stadium.
Former British prime minister Tony Blair arrived around 11.45am, just 15 minutes after actress Charlize Theron. - Candice Bailey, The Star
* There have been no reported incidents at the FNB Stadium ahead of the memorial service for former president Nelson Mandela on Tuesday, the SA National Defence Force said.
"No, there is no reported incident as yet. Everything is going smooth and fine," said spokesman Brig-Gen Xolani Mabanga.
The SANDF was not playing a big role in security for the memorial service.
"We are not really playing a security role, but in conjunction with (SA Police Service) we are helping ensure safety and security," he said.
"The SANDF will play the national anthem."
If the weather permitted, a fly past could be done, he said.- Sapa
* Graca Machel has made her first public appearance since the death of her husband Nelson Mandela, as she arrived at his memorial service at the FNB Stadium on Tuesday.
Dressed in a black turban and furred coat over a long black dress, two women on either side linked their arms with her as she moved slowly ahead. Her expression was sombre as she made her way to an underground lift. - Sapa
* British Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday suggested Nelson Mandela's legacy could lead South Africa to true success, eNCA reported.
"The legacy of Mandela is to have brought the country together... South Africa can be one of the success stories of the 21st century," Cameron told the television news station at the FNB stadium, where a memorial service in honour of former president Nelson Mandela is due to commence shortly. "I'm an optimist," he added.
Dressed in a black suit and tie, Cameron said he had come to the memorial on behalf of the British people, whom, he said, felt very connected to South Africa and its struggle towards democracy. "I thought it was very important to pay my respects... to such a brilliant man." - Sapa
* As Mandela's widow, Graça Machel arrived at his memorial at FNB Stadium just before 10.30am the crowd roared.
Benoni-born actress Charlize Theron also arrived.
The stadium was eventually beginning to fill - possibly due to problems with the park and ride system (many here say they waited for buses but these did not arrive).
In spite of the rain, energy levels were high - people celebrated, sang, danced, chanted and jogged into the stands as a gospel choir entertained the crowd. - Shanti Aboobaker, The Star
* FNB Stadium was gradually filling up ahead of the start of former president Nelson Mandela's memorial service on Tuesday.
The upper tiers of the stadium remained the seats of choice as rain continued to fall, with the level below beginning to fill up either side of the three stages positioned at one end of the pitch.
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa could be seen talking to journalists in the media area, with security tight at all entrances.
US security agents were in position with US president Barack Obama due to arrive.
Outside, members of the public continued to move into the stadium at a slow pace, with the seats nearest the pitch gradually becoming dotted with umbrellas.
Following the jazz musicians, a gospel choir took to the stage with a band to entertain the crowd as the smell of braai meat drifted across the stadium.
The crowd inside continued to sing, dance and chant, with proceedings expected to begin at 11am. - Sapa
* The JMPD are trying to get traders to stop selling inside the FNB stadium as only accredited vendors can do so. While they explain to one man, the rest of his group quickly sell merchandise. - Brendan Roane, The Star
* Nelson Mandela's family are doing well in the midst of their mourning, Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane told enca news at the FNB Stadium in Soweto on Tuesday.
"Madiba's family is a family of survivors and this process has shown that strength," she said.
The memorial service -scheduled to start at 11am - showed that "South Africa is now an assembly of nations".
Mokonyane is set to deliver the vote of thanks at the conclusion of the memorial. Dressed in a black jacket, ruched dress and thick silver choker, she said: "It's a daunting task, but again it's a mission that has been assigned and I'm quite humbled that I'll be representing South Africa in thanking the world."
She said her thanks would not just be directed to the dignitaries, but also in honour of the "elderly goga" who had braved the weather and sacrificed sleep to be at the memorial.
"When we leave here, we will be better and different people than we were before." - Sapa
* It is a great day for South Africa, as people all across the world commemorate the late former president Nelson Mandela, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Tuesday.
"It's a great day for us," he said. "We owe everything we have have and we know (to Mandela)."
"We are feeling humbled by the international support," said Mthethwa.
Mthethwa told eNCA news that security plans were in place. "The capacity of the country is under test; everyone is watching us around the globe. How we are doing? Are we capable?," he told the television news station. "We know we are up to it."
He said all possible scenarios had been considered and prepared for. - Sapa
* British Prime Minister David Cameron arrived on Tuesday morning at the FNB stadium in Soweto ahead of the memorial service in honour of global icon Nelson Mandela, eNCA news reported.
Cameron, dressed in a smart suit, was seen getting into a lift underground at the stadium.- Sapa
* Former president Nelson Mandela did so much it was only right that people come to FNB Stadium to pay tribute, people attending the former president's memorial in Soweto said.
"I felt it would mean a lot to myself to pay tribute to Madiba," Lindiwe Temgami said.
She arrived at the stadium at 6am on Tuesday with her eight-year-old son and 18-month-old niece.
"Madiba did so much for us so I thought it was worth coming out in this rainy weather," she said.
People from all walks of life joined in singing Shosholoza and Johnny Clegg's "Asimbonanga".
Mathibi Mashudu, 23, from Pretoria and his two friends left the city at 6am to get to the stadium on Tuesday.
"I want to pay my last respects to Madiba. I was very shocked when I heard he had died," said Mashudu. - Sapa
* Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa was spotted in FNB Stadium's media box, talking on his cellphone while a group of journalists tried to speak to him. - Sapa
* Police officers at the Rea Vaya station outisde the FNB Stadium say the stadium is not full yet.
They say once the stadium has filled up, people must return to the bus stop and there will be buses waiting to transport mourners to other stadium that still have space.
Mourners continue to pour in as the busses drop them off.
The gloomy weather isn't dampening their energy and they sing and dance their way into the stadium.
Amidst the celebrations though 20-year-old Phillip Masike said he felt that what some viewed as celebrating Nelson Mandela's life and legacy was inappropriate behaviour for a memorial service.
"People are turning this into a circus. Mandela was a man of tradition, I don't think he'd be happy with the way people are behaving here," he said.
Masiek said that people were behaving inappropriately and were using the event as an excuse to party. - Nontobeko Mtshali, The Star
*"UMandela lo, abamaziyo, abakaze bambone (This is Mandela, the one who is known, they've never seen anyone like him)," the several thousand strong section chanted.
"Shoshaloza" followed, as the crowd clapped and danced in unison. - Sapa
* Sisters Saudah and Ayesha Goolam took the day off work to head to FNB Stadium to bid their final farewell to Nelson Mandela.
“I never got the opportunity to meet him and I felt this was a great way to pay my last respects,” said Saudah.
The sisters were at the Rea Vaya Westgate station in town.
Buhle Mazibuko, from the Rea Vaya marketing department said the buses have been operational since 5am.
She said 80 busses will be transporting mourners to the various stadiums around Joburg and Soweto. About three of the buses that stopped at the Westgate stop just before 7am were already full but commuters squeezed in, opting to stand as they rode to the stadium.
Ayesha said going to the memorial was also to get closure on Mandela's passing, which although expect, came as a shock to her.
“In a way this is closure. I wanted to be with other mourners to experience that unity he (Mandela) stood for,” she said.
As murners continue to fill the FNB Stadium struggle song ring in the air as they make their way in, some draped in ANC memorabilia and in colours of the national flag. - Nontobeko Mtshali, The Star
* Bursts of people coming up from the Rea Vaya bus stop at the FNB Stadium at regular intervals now.
Their singing reverberates up from the tunnel, getting louder and louder as they approach the exit. - Brendan Roane, The Star
* Some Rea Vaya buses are packed while others are relatively empty as people make their way to the FNB Stadium.
On Rea Vaya user, Lusanda Myoli, says she left for town to catch a bus at 5.30am and the rain could not deter her.
“This man inspired me to write,” she says, remembering the day she read an article on Madiba in the late 80s and wrote a poem.
“I've been writing since then,” she says. - Brendan Roane, The Star