Mandela family 'humbled' by thousands turning out in cold, rain

11th December 2013, Comments 0 comments

Nelson Mandela's family on Wednesday said they were humbled by the thousands of people who braved terrible weather to attend the South African anti-apartheid icon's memorial service.

"We were particularly humbled by the fact that thousands of people braved cold and wet weather to honour Madiba and stand by us," the family said in a statement.

Despite unseasonal incessant rains and cool temperatures, tens of thousands of people flocked to the FNB stadium in Soweto for a public memorial.

The memorial was also attended by nearly 100 foreign leaders including US President Barack Obama.

"As the Mandela family, we take this opportunity today to extend our gratitude to those who honoured Madiba with their presence during the national memorial service."

Mandela, whose body is lying in state in the capital Pretoria for three days, will be laid to rest in his boyhood rural home of Qunu in the southeast of the country.

"It is our conviction that on this last mile, this nation will pull together and bid farewell in the most dignified and disciplined manner possible that Madiba would have expected of us," it said.

A large section of mourners at the stadium heckled Mandela's successor and current president, Jacob Zuma, prompting the ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and the country's moral compass, archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu to call the crowd to order.

© 2013 AFP

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