Johannesburg - A 10-day programme of activities has been arranged leading up to the state funeral of former president Nelson Mandela in his hometown of Qunu, in the Eastern Cape.
President Jacob Zuma told reporters in Johannesburg on Friday that Sunday, December 8, would be a national day of prayer and reflection.
“We call upon all our people to gather in halls, churches, mosques, temples, synagogues and in their homes for prayer services and meditation, reflecting on the life of Madiba and his contribution to our country and the world,” he said.
An official memorial service would be held on Tuesday, December 10, at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.
“From 11 to 13 December, the remains of our beloved Madiba will lie in state at the seat of government, the Union Buildings in Pretoria, where he served as the first president of this young democracy,” Zuma said.
“During these days, official memorial services will also be held in all provinces and regions.”
Mandela's state funeral would be held on December 15, in Qunu.
“We should all work together to organise the most befitting funeral for this outstanding son of our country and the father of our young nation,” said Zuma.
He thanked South Africans for “the dignified manner in which they have respected and responded to the monumental loss of this monumental icon”.
“(Mandela was) a symbol of reconciliation, unity, love, human rights and justice in our country and in the world,” he said.
Mandela died at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, on Thursday night. He was 95-years-old.
African National Congress secretary general Gwede Mantashe said the ANC in each province and 54 regions across the country would hold memorial services while Mandela was lying in state.
“We have agreed that not every memorial service will have a (Mandela) family member,” he said.
“You can't expect the Mandela family to be in 54 memorial services, or to be in nine provincial services.”
He said the ANC would “all” move to the Eastern Cape on December 14, prior to the state funeral.
Mantashe said Zuma, as president of the ANC, would be deployed to one of the party's memorial services.
“But we are not going to interrupt his role as the president of the Republic of South Africa.”
Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said further details of the events, and the arrival of foreign dignitaries would be announced later.