Nelson Mandela Funeral Set For Dec. 15

The former South African President will be laid to rest on Dec. 15 in the village of Qunu where he grew up

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Theana Calitz-Bilt / AP

Former South African President Nelson Mandela

The funeral of former South African President Nelson Mandela will be held on Dec. 15, President Jacob Zuma announced Friday.

Mandela, the first black President of South Africa who led the country out of apartheid, died Thursday. Zuma said there will be a memorial service on Dec. 10 and a day of “prayer and reflection” on Dec. 8.

The leader of the anti-apartheid movement will also lie in state buildings in Pretoria, one of the country’s three capital cities, from Dec. 11 to Dec. 13. The death of the 95-year-old peaceful-resistance icon was announced on Thursday; he had been released from the hospital Sept. 1 after suffering from a lung infection throughout the summer.

The White House announced Friday that President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will go to South Africa next week “to pay their respects to the memory of Nelson Mandela and to participate in memorial events.”

Former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura Bush will accompany Obama on Air Force One, his spokesperson told Politico. Former President Bill Clinton told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he and his family will also head to South Africa, but it’s not clear whether he will travel with the Obama.

Former President George H.W. Bush will not be making the trip, according to Politico.

Mandela’s services will be held throughout South Africa over the next week; the memorial will be held at a stadium in Johannesburg before his body is moved to Pretoria on Dec. 11. He will be buried in his home village of Qunu.