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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Thousands Gather For Nelson Mandela's Funeral

Colin Hale |
December 10, 2013 | 9:29 a.m. PST

Executive Producer

Tens of thousands of South Africans gathered at FNB stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa on a rainy Tuesday morning to pay tribute to former South African leader and global figure Nelson Mandela.

Among the foreign dignitaries the ceremony included President Barack Obama, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, South African president Jacob Zuma, Cuban president Raul Castro, and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Obama was joined by First Lady Michelle Obama, former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In his remarks, Obama said that "it is hard to eulogize any man... how much harder to do so for a giant of history, who moved a nation towards justice."

"Nothing he achieved was inevitable. In the arc of his life, we see a man who earned his place in history through struggle and shrewdness, persistence and faith," Obama said. "He showed us the power of action, of taking risks on behalf of our ideals."

Prior to the speech, Obama shook hands with Cuban president Raul Castro, who spoke to him for several seconds. White House officials said that the encounter was unplanned.

Read more about Nelson Mandela's legacy on Neon Tommy and follow the Mandela funeral at CNN, Washington Post, and BBC News.

Reach Executive Producer Colin Hale here. Follow him on Twitter.



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