Watch Mandela’s memorial service

BY News Desk  December 14, 2013 at 7:30 PM EDT

South African freedom fighter Nelson Mandela died Dec. 5.

Updated Dec. 16 | Nelson Mandela was buried in his hometown of Qunu in southeastern South Africa on Sunday in a ceremony that was a mixture of tribal traditions and military grandeur.

Mandela’s coffin, draped in the South African flag, was ringed with 95 candles for each of his years of life. Mourners sang the national anthem and danced in celebration of his legacy. Canons fired a 21-gun salute.

“Go well, Madiba,” said granddaughter Nandi Mandela, referring to his clan name. “Go well to the land of our ancestors, you have run your race.”


Updated Dec. 10 | The celebration of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela’s life kicked off Tuesday with a memorial service, including tributes by the Mandela family, President Barack Obama and other world leaders.

Mr. Obama told the tens of thousands of people gathered at FNB Stadium in Soweto that Mandela was a person of ideas and action, but he also knew the importance of negotiating those ideas into laws. “He was not afraid to compromise for the sake of a larger goal.”

President Obama also described Mandela’s human side. “It was precisely because he could admit to imperfection — because he could be so full of good humor, even mischief, despite the heavy burdens he carried — that we loved him so.”

Read President Obama’s full remarks and watch the speech:

South African President Jacob Zuma also spoke but was jeered as he took the stage. Some in his country are frustrated over income inequality and unemployment. Watch Zuma’s speech:

Cuban President Raul Castro spoke as well. President Obama shook his hand during the service, raising some eyebrows. See Castro’s address:

Also in the stadium were Mandela’s widow, Graca Machel, and former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who hugged each other before the ceremony. F.W. de Klerk, South Africa’s last apartheid-era president and a former political rival of Mandela who later worked with him to end apartheid, was in attendance. Mandela and de Klerk shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for their reconciliation efforts.

Mandela died Dec. 5 at his home in Johannesburg after struggling with repeated lung ailments. He was 95 years old.

View more of PBS NewsHour’s World coverage.