Huge crowds and a who’s who of world leaders are expected to attend services honouring the late South African president Nelson Mandela.
Officially-sanctioned services begin Tuesday (tomorrow at 4am EST) and culminate with a funeral in Mandela’s hometown next Sunday.
Here’s a day-by-day breakdown of how the memorial events will unfold over the next week.
Sunday, Dec. 8
South African President Jacob Zuma has declared Sunday a national day of prayer and reflection over Mandela’s death.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is scheduled to travel to Johannesburg, accompanied by his wife Laureen and a Canadian delegation. Former prime ministers Jean Chretien, Kim Campbell and Brian Mulroney have said they will join Harper on the trip, along with former governor general Michaelle Jean.
Monday, Dec. 9
The South African government has announced a special sitting of the two houses of parliament to be held on Monday, during which lawmakers will pay tribute to their country’s first black, democratically-elected president.
Tuesday, Dec. 10
Official services begin Tuesday with a major memorial planned at FNB Stadium. Located on the edge of Soweto, the stadium was the place where Mandela made his last public appearance at the World Cup final in July 2010.
The service will begin at 11 a.m. local time and the gate for the public will open at 6 a.m.
South African President Jacob Zuma will address the crowd during the memorial; the event will also include tributes from various world leaders.
Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said he expects massive crowds far beyond what the stadium’s 95,000-person capacity can accomodate.
Big screens will be set up outside the stadium and at overflow venues throughout the country.
Mandela’s body won’t be at the stadium event Tuesday.
Wednesday, Dec. 11 – Friday, Dec, 13
Mandela’s body will rest in state Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the Union Buildings in South Africa’s capital Pretoria. The body will be held overnight at 1 Military Hospital.
With long lines of well-wishers expected, the government has called on residents to line the streets to serve as an honour guard as Mandela’s body passes between the Union Buildings and the military hospital twice each day.
Saturday, Dec. 14
African National Congress members will hold a ceremony at Waterkloof Air Force Base near Pretoria before Mandela’s body is flown to Qunu for the funeral service.
Sunday Dec. 15
The planned funeral service will take place in Qunu, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s rural hometown in Eastern Cape Province.
It’s expected that thousands of people, including dozens of heads of state, will gather for the state funeral.
Only a few hundred close family members will bid that final farewell to Mandela as he is laid to rest.
The burial area has been especially built for him; some of Mandela’s long deceased family members are already buried at the site.
Thanks to ctv news