Nelson Mandela will be laid to rest at his ancestral village of Qunu on Dec. 15. The village is located in the Eastern Cape.
Mandela’s funeral will follow a national week of mourning for the historical figure, and will include an open-air memorial service at Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium on Dec. 10.
Imprisoned for nearly three decades for his fight against white minority rule, Mandela emerged determined to use his prestige and charisma to bring down apartheid while avoiding a civil war. “The time for the healing of the wounds has come. The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come,” Mandela said in his acceptance speech on becoming South Africa’s first black president in 1994. “We have, at last, achieved our political emancipation.”
In his remarks on Mandela’s passing, President Barack Obama hailed the leader as someone “who left his country with a legacy of freedom and peace with the world.”
“He achieved more than could be expected of any man,” Obama said at the White House shortly after the announcement of Mandela’s death. “Today he’s gone home, and we’ve lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth,” Obama said.
Nelson Mandela led South Africa out of its segregated system of Apartheid. Often putting his life on the line for freedom and equality, he fought tirelessly to ensure that South Africans, regardless of skin color, had a fair quality of life.
Rest in Peace Nelson Mandela. Your strength, courageousness and spirit will undoubtedly live on forever.