Botswana president to attend memorial service for Mandela in South Africa

December 10, 2013 9:34 AM

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GABORONE, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- Botswanan President Ian Khama will join other heads of state and government and international dignitaries in attending the memorial service for the late former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

Botswanan government spokesperson Jeff Ramsay told media on Monday that Khama is scheduled to leave for South Africa on Tuesday to attend the extraordinary four-hour memorial service to honor Mandela.

Khama also signed the condolence book in memory of Mandela at the South African High Commission in Gaborone on Monday.

Ramsay said flags in Botswana will fly half mast on Sunday as a sign of respect for Mandela, the date having been chosen to coincide with the statesman's final burial at his home village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape.

Khama has issued two separate messages last Friday for the government of South Africa and Mandela's family, hailing the late president as the person of "strong moral standing and deep intolerance for human suffering of any kind."

Botswana shares the Mandela legacy because of his frequent visits to the country during South Africa's liberation struggle.

Mandela will be remembered as the leader of South Africa's anti- apartheid liberation struggle, a principled revolutionary who after his long imprisonment emerged as a much loved father, as well as first president (1994-99) of a free, democratic, non- racial South Africa.

According to earlier media reports, the South African government said 59 heads of state confirmed their attendance at the service, including U. S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Source: globalpost.com

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