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Throngs Gather for Mandela Memorial Service

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- The world says goodbye to Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela. Nearly 100,000 are expected to fill South Africa's national soccer stadium for the memorial service.
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- The world says goodbye to Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela.  Nearly 100,000 are expected to fill South Africa's national soccer stadium for the memorial service.

Even through the rain, South Africans sang and danced in celebration of the life of Nelson Mandela.
"He fought for us and we are free now because of him so I'm celebrating for that."

Tens of thousands packed the national soccer stadium in Johannesburg to honor the man who helped save the nation from deep racial divides.

"This is a man that brought us from a time of darkness and fear and a lot of hate to a time of hope," says Lionel Rudling.

Rudling wanted to make sure his daughter was in the stands.  "This is her last opportunity to interact with a man that has basically given her generation a future."

Mandela's ex-wife, Winnie, was among the first to arrive.  The family has asked several heads of state, including President Obama, to speak at the service.

With so many world leaders in one place, security here is tight.  Blockades like this have been set up on roads leading to the stadium.

Thousands of police officers have been deployed around the stadium to look for suspicious activity.  While helicopters kept an eye on things from above.

"It's unprecedented.  This is, unquestionably, the biggest event that South Africa will ever see," says Rory Steyn, the former head of Nelson Mandela's security detail.

Even parents were asked to take extra precautions.  The government advised them to write their cell phone numbers on the arms of their children in case they got separated.

Following today's service, Mandela's body will be taken to Pretoria, South Africa where it will lie in state for three days before he is buried in his hometown of Qunu on Sunday.


(Alphonso Van Marsh, CBS News)

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