08:22 AM EDT 01/10/2014
Originally posted 12/14/2013 10:00PM
Former South African president Nelson Mandela was buried Sunday after a funeral ceremony that included a 21-gun salute and fly-overs by military aircraft as well as a eulogy by a traditional leader wearing an animal skin.
Mandela's casket was lowered into the earth after military pallbearers carried it to the family gravesite in the rolling hills of Qunu, the rural village in eastern South Africa, which was the childhood home of the anti-apartheid leader who became the country's first democratically-elected president.
Banyanda Nyengule, head of the Nelson Mandela Museum in Mthatha and Qunu, was one of the eyewitnesses to the private burial and said it hit him hard.
"I realized that the old man is no more, no more with us you know," Nyengule said. "The moment when the coffin went down into the ground I felt too ... emotional."
Originally posted 12/12/2013 07:35AM
The man who stood next to President Obama and other world leaders and faked sign language during Tuesday's memorial for Nelson Mandela says he suffers from schizophrenia and had an attack that caused him to hear voices and hallucinate on stage.
The man, identified as Thamsanqa Jantjie, 34, claims he is a real interpreter but that a schizophrenic episode caused him to lose concentration and start making meaningless signs, reports South Africa's Star newspaper.
"There was nothing I could do," Jantjie tells the paper. "I was alone in a very dangerous situation. I tried to control myself and not show the world what was going on. I am very sorry, it's the situation I found myself in."
Originally posted 12/11/2013 04:45PM
While a massive stadium memorial Tuesday for the late South African President Nelson Mandela appeared to go off without a hitch, one embarrassing new revelation has emerged: the event's sign-language interpreter was a fake.
Millions watched as the man moved his hands in mock sign language, but the Deaf Federation of South Africa confirms the movements were simply made-up signs, the U.K.'s Daily Mail reported Wednesday.
As President Barack Obama and several other dignitaries spoke, the man stood behind them on the podium, gesturing in a manner that looked realistic to outsiders, but three deaf experts reviewing the footage said his signing amounted to gibberish.
Originally posted 12/10/2013 06:00AM
The world's political, religious and human rights leaders have converged on Johannesburg, South Africa, to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela, who died last Thursday at 95.
Calling Mandela "a giant of history," President Obama spoke about the life and legacy of the late leader, and thanked the people of South Africa "for sharing him with us."
"He gave hope to the oppressed," said Obama, who likened Mandela to Abraham Lincoln for keeping his country together at a time it threatened to break apart.
Also due to speak were South Africa's president, Jacob Zuma, and the presidents of Brazil, India and Cuba – as well as Bono and Oprah Winfrey.
Originally posted 12/08/2013 11:45AM
South Africans of all races flocked to houses of worship Sunday for a national day of prayer and reflection to honor Nelson Mandela, unified in their love for a historic figure whose funeral is expected to be one of the biggest in modern times.
At the Regina Mundi Church that was at the epicenter of the Soweto township uprising in 1976 against white rule, Father Sebastian J. Rossouw described Mandela as "moonlight," saying he offered a guiding light for South Africa. Hundreds of people attended the Mass.
"Madiba did not doubt the light," Rossouw said, referring to Mandela by his clan name. "He paved the way for a better future, but he cannot do it alone."
Originally posted 12/06/2013 03:10PM
Heartfelt and passionate tributes continued to flow in from around the world following the death of South African president and global human-rights icon Nelson Mandela.
"One of the great honors of my life was to be invited to Nelson Mandela's home, spend private time and get to know him," Oprah Winfrey Tweeted, posting a photo on Instagram of their time together.
"He was everything you've ever heard and more – humble and unscathed by bitterness. And he always loved to tell a good joke," Oprah said. "Being in his presence was like sitting with grace and majesty at the same time. He will always be my hero. His life was a gift to us all."
Originally posted 12/06/2013 10:00AM
In an emotional judgment call, two of Nelson Mandela's daughters decided that the London premiere of the Mandela biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom would continue, despite the former South African president's death Thursday at the age of 95.
Zenani and Zindzi Mandela attended the premiere and learned of their father's death during the screening. Though the pair left the Odeon Leicester Square theater, they asked that the film play to the end uninterrupted, according to a statement from the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Zindzi Mandela had spoken about her father's health on the film's red carpet, saying that he was "fine."
"He's just a typical 95-year-old who is frail," she added.
Originally posted 12/06/2013 09:30AM
Nelson Mandela's positive influence on the world and the power of his sacrifices became a concentrated force on social networks just moments after the leader's death on Thursday. Celebrities, dignitaries and everyday people signed on to Twitter to express their condolences and share how the ever-compassionate Mandela affected their lives.
More than 7.2 million tweets regarding Mandela's passing have been posted on the social network since the news broke on Thursday, with a peak of 95,000 tweets a minute.
Originally posted 12/05/2013 06:30PM
There was a standing ovation followed by a stunned hush in the London movie theater where Prince William, his wife, Kate, and a roomful of VIPs had just finished watching the film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
The group was shocked when they learned that the subject of the movie, Nelson Mandela, had died.
"We were delivered the news as the credits rolled," Tweeted The Mail on Sunday's royal correspondent Katie Nicholl. "Silence here in the cinema where the royal couple have just watched Mandela. RIP."
Originally posted 12/05/2013 05:55PM
A great leader has died – and within minutes, people who knew Nelson Mandela and many others, who only knew of his fight for freedom in South Africa and for people around the world, lit up social media sites like Twitter and Instagram to express their condolences and pay their respects.
Madela passed away Thursday at the age of 95.
"The founding President of our democratic nation has departed," the current President of South Africa Jacob Zuma, using Mandela's tribal name, said in an address to the nation. "He passed on peacefully in the company of his family ... on the 5th of December 2013. He is now resting. He is now at peace. Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father."
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