FOREIGN Minister Miroslav Lajčák paid respects to Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg at the memorial service on December 10. He said it was an honour to represent Slovakia at the service.

“It wasn’t a classic memorial service like we have in our country,” Lajčák said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “This was an unorthodox event and more a celebration of his life than a mournful gathering, a fact aptly mentioned by US President Barack Obama in his speech.”

Numerous world leaders came to pay their respects on Tuesday to the legendary fighter against apartheid, who ushered in a new era of reconciliation and forgiveness in South Africa. Among some 70 state and government representatives were former and incumbent US Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush along with their wives, as well as former state department head Hillary Clinton, her husband and former president Bill Clinton and another former US president, Jimmy Carter.

Held in a stadium before a crowd of nearly 100,000 mourners, the service was also attended by Chinese Vice-President Li Yuanchao, Cuban President Raul Castro, UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon and his predecessor Kofi Annan, as well as incumbent and former French presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy and others.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
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