District of Columbia residents are invited to sign a book of condolence honoring the memory of Nelson Mandela. There will be a vigil tonight at 7 p.m., at the embassy. The book of condolence will be located at the South African Embassy, 3051 Massachusetts Ave, NW, and will be open daily for signing from Friday, December 6, through Tuesday, December 10, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.
“Nelson Mandela was loved all over the world. When I learned that he had died last night there was a chill. We knew the time was near; however, it was still difficult to realize that he was actually gone,” a spokesperson said. The view of the South Africa Embassy is that Nelson Mandela was a world leader and his passing will be mourned by the whole world. “We have enough condolence books for every person to sign and to pay their respect to his memory,” the spokesperson said.
It is true that Mandela was loved and revered around the world. In 1984 the college students at the Ecole Normale Superieure staged protests to fight for his release from prison. There were protests at the South African Embassy and around the world. The book of condolence will be a historical document that future generations will study to understand the full depths of the love people had for Mandela.
The South African Embassy is located on Embassy Row. The best way to get there is on the Dupont Circle Metro Station. District of Columbia residents who are paying their respect to Mandela should remember the lines will form as people come out to sign the book. Residents should dress warmly.
The embassy has provided the key dates in the mourning period for former President Nelson Mandela announced by President Jacob Zuma:
Sunday, 8 December:
National Day of Prayer and Reflection: all synagogues, temples, churches, mosques, etc.
Tuesday, 10 December:
Official memorial service: FNB Stadium, Johannesburg
Wednesday, 11-Thursday, 12 December:
Former President Mandela to lie in state: Union Buildings, Pretoria
Sunday, 15 December:
State Funeral for Former President Nelson Mandela: Qunu.