Tens of thousands of South Africans gathered at a stadium in Soweto on Tuesday to honor the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. He died at his home Thursday, at the age of 95.
South African girls dance during the service. The memorial celebrated Mandela's gift for uniting enemies across political and racial divides.
President Obama talks with Mandela's widow, Graca Machel, during the memorial service. "It was a memorial, but it was almost a thanksgiving as well," NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports from South Africa. "I think people are so grateful to what Nelson Mandela and his generation of freedom fighters did to liberate South Africa."
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NPR's Gregory Warner says that while the mood was celebratory, the rainy weather likely kept many people at home.
Obama delivered a 20-minute eulogy, during which he compared Mandela to Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln and America's Founding Fathers.
A woman sings in the stands. "There is, of course, much music — some of it mournful and some of it joyful," Quist-Arcton reports. "Either way, South Africans are dancing and swaying, with their umbrellas up."
A man waves a South African flag. Nearly 100 heads of state have traveled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating Mandela's life.
A man sells portraits of Mandela outside the memorial service.
Thomas, 14, stands behind a security barrier before the start of the service.