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Over 91 dignitaries expected at Mandela memorial

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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will join over 91 dignitaries at the memorial service remembering the life of late South African leader Nelson Mandela who died Thursday at the age of 95.

The service begins at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, December 10 at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, with gate opening planned for 7 a.m. Over 200 big screens, an information hotline and overflow stadiums for additional mourners have been setup to accommodate additional people wishing to pay their respects, officials announced Monday.

Press passes for over 1,500 representatives have been issued to members of the world media.

“Kings, queens, princes and princesses will be joined at FNB Stadium by representatives of international organisations such as the United Nations, African Union, European Union, the Commonwealth and the World Bank, and other VIPs,” the government said in an online briefing.

No vehicles will be allowed near FNB Stadium but once the stadium is filled, mourners will be directed to overflow stadiums like Ellis Park, Orlando and Dobsonville Stadiums. “Mourners are urged to choose which stadium they want to use and to plan their travel accordingly.”

South African President Jacob Zuma will address the service as will Cuban President Raul Castro and U.S. President Barack Obama, the official program for the memorial said. British Prime Minister David Cameron and three of his predecessors Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and John Major are also expected to attend.

U.S. President Barack Obama and three of his predecessors George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter will travel to South Africa for the memorial. Twenty-six U.S. congressmen will also attend.



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