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President Obama and first lady attend Nelson Mandela’s memorial

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Tuesday, President Obama and first-lady Michelle attended a memorial for Nelson Mandela in South Africa; the memorial was held in a stadium in Saweto, South Africa and thousands of people were in attendance. The celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life began at noon Tuesday (5 a.m. in Washington D.C.). Leaders from around the world attended the memorial, as well as South African President Jacob Zuma, according to the Washington Post.

Nelson Mandela died last Thursday at 95 years old after battleing numerous health issues and spending much of the last year in the hospital.

Songs were sung, speeches were given, and Mandela’s wife, Winnie was given a standing ovation. The Washington Post reported that nurses, the unemployed, joined in the celebration along with the leaders of nations from around the world.

Obama spoke briefly about Mandela and said that his death has inspired him and he hoped that it inspired other world leaders and people from around the world. At the memorial for Nelson Mandela, President Obama said:

“There are too many of us who happily embrace Madiba’s legacy of racial reconciliation, but passionately resist even modest reforms that would challenge chronic poverty and growing inequality. There are too many leaders who claim solidarity with Madiba’s struggle for freedom, but do not tolerate dissent from their own people. And there are too many of us who stand on the sidelines, comfortable in complacency or cynicism when our voices must be heard.”

Nelson Mandela is a former president of South Africa and was best known for spending 27 years in prison in South Africa during apartheid.

In 1993, Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1994, Mandela became South Africa's first black president and served for five years. His last public appearance was during the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament when it was held in South Africa. He was imprisoned for 27 years in an attempt to fight racist white rule. Mandela was retired and lived in the village of Qunu.

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