Presidents, royalty expected for Mandela memorial
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela on Tuesday is poised to be one of the largest such gatherings in generations with tens of thousands of local mourners and almost 100 foreign leaders expected.
South African officials say the normal seating capacity of Johannesburg’s FNB stadium of 95,000 probably won’t suffice to accommodate all mourners, and the event is broadcast live to other stadiums and venues across the country.
Many royals from Europe and elsewhere, celebrities and officials were on their way to Johannesburg Monday. The South African government said almost 100 heads of state, government and ministers have confirmed their attendance.
Here’s a selection of confirmed attendees:
— U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama as well as former presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
— U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his predecessor Kofi Annan.
— British Prime Minister David Cameron and deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
— French President Francois Hollande and his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy.
— Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta.
— Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and three of his predecessors.
— Cuban President Raul Castro.
— Mexican President Pena Nieto.
— Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and three of her predecessors, including Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
— Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro.
— Japan’s Crown Prince Naruhito and former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda.
— Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
— Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
— Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao.
— Indian President Pranab Mukherjee.
— Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
— Bangladesh’s President Abdul Hamid.
— Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain.
— South Korean Prime Minister Hongwon Chung.
— Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.
— Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
— Congo’s President Joseph Kabila.
— Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.
— Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
— Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
— Saudi-Arabia’s Deputy Prime Minister Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
— Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
— European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
— European Union Council President Herman Van Rompuy.
— Top Vatican official Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana.
— German President Joachim Gauck.
— Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Prince Felipe.
— The Netherlands’ Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans and King Willem-Alexander.
— Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
— Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Crown Prince Haakon.
— Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Princess Victoria.
— Belgian Prime Minister Elio di Rupo and King Philippe.
— Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout.
— Haiti’s Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe.
— British Model Naomi Campbell.
— Former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari and former Irish head of state Mary Robinson as part of the delegation of The Elders, a group of former statesmen which Mandela helped to launch.
— British entrepreneur Richard Branson and singer Peter Gabriel, who brought the idea of The Elders to Mandela.
A full list of attendees to the memorial service compiled by the South African government can be found here: http://www.dirco.gov.za/docs/2013/mandela1209.html