Tens of thousands of South African mourners, dozens of presidents and prime ministers, celebrities gathered at the FNB stadium in Johannesburg to honor the life of Nelson Mandela at a memorial service on Tuesday.
As the rain poured, the crowd sang and clapped hands as commoners and dignitaries, including President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Vice President of China, Cuba's President Fidel Castro, filled the stadium's 90,000 seats. Moreover, the entertainment industry was represented by U2's Bono, Oprah Winfrey and Naomi Campbell.
91 heads of state attended the service.
Among the speakers at Tuesday's memorial, President Obama, who like Mandela was his nation's first black president, has cited his first political participation was against the South Africa's apartheid as inspired by Mandela for entering politics. In addition, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also spoke.
President Barack Obama, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and some of his grandchildren addressed a service honoring the freedom fighter, prisoner, president and Nobel laureate who led South Africa out of apartheid.
"His struggle was your struggle. His triumph was your triumph. Your dignity and hope found expression in his life, and your freedom, your democracy is his cherished legacy," Obama told the crowd at the 95,000-capacity stadium in Soweto. "The world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us."
Ban described Mandela as "one of the greatest leaders of our time."
He added: "South Africa has lost a hero, we have lost a father, the world has lost a beloved friend and mentor. Nelson Mandela showed us the way with a heart larger than this stadium."
Leading an interfaith prayer service held under driving rain, South Africa's Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein recalled Mandela's "mighty power of forgiveness" and his ability to "to forgive and embrace his brothers and sisters who inflicted so much pain on him and millions of others."
In addition to Obama, former President Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton also attend.
SABC TV is playing a tribute, honoring the life and legacy of the late Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid icon, who died December 5, 2013 at age 95.
South Africa's government has released the list of dignitaries who participated in the event:
Afghanistan: President Hamid Karzai
African Union Commission: Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
Algeria: Abdelkader Bensalah, Speaker of the Council of the Nation
Angola: Vice President Manuel Vicente
Arab States League: Ambassador Amb Samir Hosny
Argentina: Acting President Amado Boudou
Australia: Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Bahamas: Prime Minister Perry Christie
Bangladesh: President Abdul Hamid
Belgium: King Philippe
Benin: President Boni Yayi
Botswana: President Lt Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama
Brazil: President Dilma Rousseff
Burundi: President Pierre Nkurunziza
Canada: Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Chad: President Idriss Déby Itno
China: Vice President Li Yuanchao
Commonwealth of Nations: His Excellency, Kamalesh Sharma
Comores: President Ikililou Dhoinine
Congo (Republic of the Congo): President Denis Sassou-Nguesso
Congo (Democratic Republic of Congo): President Joseph Kabila
Côte d'Ivoire: President Allassane Ouattara
Croatia: President Ivo Josipovic
Cuba: President Raúl Castro
Denmark: Crown Prince Federick
Djibouti: President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh
Ethiopia: Prime Minister Ato Hailemariam Desalegn
Equatorial Guinea: President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mbasogo
European Council: President Herman van Rompuy
France: President François Holland
Finland: President Sauli Väinämö Niinistö
Ghana: President John Dramani Mahama
Guyana: President Donald Ramotar
Gabon: President Ali Bongo Ondimba
Germany: President Joachim Gauck
Grand Duchy of Luxembourg: His Royal Highness Henry of Luxembourg
Guinea: President Alpha Condé
India: President Pranab Mukherjee
Ireland: President Michael D Higgins
Italy: Prime Minister Enrico Letta
Japan: Crown Prince Naruhito
Jamaica: Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller
Jordan: Queen Rania Al Abdullah and Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour
Kenya: President Uhuru Kenyatta
Lebanon: Prime Minister Najib Mikati
Lesotho: Prime Minister Thomas Thabane
Liberia: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Mauritania: President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz
Mauritius: Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam
Malawi: President Joyce Banda
Mexico: President Enrique Peña Nieto
Mozambique: President Armando Emílio Guebuza
Namibia: His Excellency Hifikepunye Pohamba, President
New Zealand: Right Hon John Key, Prime Minister
Niger: President Mahamadou Issoufou
Nigeria: President Goodluck Jonathan
Norway: His Royal Highness Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway
Pakistan: President Mamnoon Hussain
Palestinian State: President Mahmoud Abbas
Poland: Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski
Portugal: President Aníbal Cavaco Silva
Sahrawi Republic: President Mohamed Abdelaziz
Saudi Arabia: Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.
Senegal: President Macky Sall
Serbia: President Tomislav Nikolic
Seychelles: President James Alix Michel
Slovenia: President Borut Pahor
South Korea: Prime Minister Hongwon Chung
South Sudan: President Salva Kiir Mayardi
Spain: Felipe de Borbón, The Prince of Asturias
Sri Lanka: President Mahinda Rajapaksa
Suriname: President Desiré Delano Bouterse
Swaziland: Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini
Sweden: Princess Victoria and Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt
Switzerland: President Ulrich Maurer
Tanzania: President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete
The Gambia: President Yahya Jammeh
Timor-Leste: Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana
Trinidad and Tobago: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
Tunisia: President Mohamed Moncef Marzouki
Uganda: President Yoweri Museveni
United Arab Emirates: Minister of Culture Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan
United Kingdom: Prince Charles and Prime Minister David Cameron
United States of America: His Excellency Barack Obama, President, First Lady Michelle Obama, former president George W. Bush and Laura Bush, former president Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, former president Jimmy Carter, Attorney General Eric Holder, National Security Adviser Susa Rice.
Venezuela: President Nicolás Maduro Moros
Zambia: President Michael Sata
Zimbabwe: President Robert Mugabe