Mandela Funeral Poses Massive Challenge
World leaders will descend on remote village
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2013 4:57 AM CST
Updated Dec 6, 2013 7:54 AM CST
The house of former South African President Nelson Mandela, center rear, in Qunu, South Africa.   (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

(Newser) – The death of Nelson Mandela is certain to plunge South Africa into a near-standstill of national mourning for around two weeks—but the country still faces the challenge of holding one of the biggest state funerals ever seen, the Guardian finds. Scores of heads of state, royals, other dignitaries, and celebrities are expected to pour into the country from around the world to attend the ceremony in Qunu, the remote village in the Eastern Cape where Mandela grew up, creating a security and logistical nightmare one commentator likens to "a simultaneous opening and closing ceremony of the World Cup, a presidential inauguration and a monarch's coronation." At the same time, an army of news crews from around the world will be scrambling for accommodation.

For now, the great statesman's body is believed to be in a military hospital in Pretoria, where he will be embalmed before Monday's ceremony of national mourning at a 95,000-seat soccer stadium in Soweto, reports CNN. According to government sources, he will then lie in state for three days at the seat of government in Pretoria before a military aircraft flies the body to Qunu next Friday, where the military will hand responsibility for his remains to his famiy. The next day, the state funeral will be broadcast to millions. Finally, he will be buried in a small, private family ceremony in accordance with his Xhosa tribal roots, at a burial spot he chose overlooking the fields where he tended cattle as a boy, the Telegraph reports.

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Dec 6, 2013 10:43 AM CST
I never could understand the guy. I mean literally...I couldn't understand what he was saying. Example: "We love all South African. Ain't too proud to beg..."
Dec 6, 2013 9:32 AM CST
Dam Took him long enough to Die.
Dec 6, 2013 9:26 AM CST
Mr. Mandela is/was a great man w/many human flaws, however he used time in prison to gain life lessons to turn his heart and life into a peaceful tool to be used by the whole world. Like him or not, you must (Fascist_Jack at least acknowledge he did change and wanted the world to be come a better place and learn we are more a like than different. I send my prayers and love out to the family of Mr. Mandela ... We, the world will never see the like of him in my life time. To you, Fascist_Jack, You must really hate folk of color to only see the negative in them.