Today 11 December
World leaders have heaped praise on the late Nelson Mandela, but among the countries paying tribute are some that had long backed the South African apartheid regime that jailed him. Many of the eulogies for the iconic peacemaker have glossed over Western support for the white supremacist regime in Pretoria during the Cold War, when Mandela and his African National Congress (ANC) were blacklisted as Soviet proxies. Israel was one of South Africa's closest allies at a time when Pretoria was facing UN-led sanctions, maintaining defence ties which also benefitted an authoritarian anti-communist regime in Taiwan.
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A man who provided sign language interpretation on stage for Nelson Mandela's memorial service, attended by scores of heads of state, was a "fake," the national director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa said on Tuesday.
Nelson Mandela's flag-draped casket made a solemn journey through the streets of Pretoria Wednesday, arriving at the seat of South Africa's government where he will lie in state for three days. "I never met Mandela, so this is my only chance and it's important I pay my respects. I'm South African -- I have to be here," said 28-year-old Vaughan Motshwene. Some cheered but many were tearful, aware that Mandela's death on Thursday aged 95, opened a new chapter in South African history.
By Tiisetso Motsoeneng PRETORIA (Reuters) - Thousands of people queued on Wednesday to say goodbye to Nelson Mandela, whose body was lying in state in Pretoria in the building where the anti-apartheid hero was inaugurated in 1994 as South Africa's first black president. Foreign dignitaries and celebrities joined thousands of South Africans at the imposing Union Buildings, perched on a hill overlooking Pretoria, for a last chance to see the body of the man regarded as the father of democratic South Africa. Mandela's flag-draped casket was met by officers representing branches of the military on arrival from the capital's main military hospital, in a formal ceremony that contrasted with Tuesday's memorial. Traffic in Pretoria was gridlocked from early morning and shops along the procession route were closed.
Soweto (South Africa) (AFP) - US President Barack Obama may have moved the masses attending Nelson Mandela's memorial service with his stirring eulogy, but it was his grinning "selfie" with the Danish and British premiers that set social networks abuzz. In a candid moment captured by AFP photographer Roberto Schmidt, Denmark's Helle Thorning-Schmidt can be seen holding up her smartphone, with Obama lending a helping hand, as they pose for a picture with David Cameron, all three of them smiling broadly in their seats at Soweto's World Cup stadium. First Lady Michelle Obama, sitting to the left of her husband, does not join in with the lightheartedness, keeping her eyes firmly trained on the podium where world leaders were paying tribute to South Africa's anti-apartheid hero Mandela, who died Thursday aged 95. The so-called selfie -- short for self-portrait -- was quickly picked up by major international news outlets and went viral on social media sites, with many questioning whether the moment of mirth was appropriate for the occasion.