Supporters celebrate Mandela's life amid memorial plans

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December 9, 2013, 1:03 pm
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(NECN/NBC News: Rob Allen) - The celebration of the life of Nelson Mandela continues now for yet another day.

"If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be here today and I'm really proud to be a South African because of Tata Nelson Mandela," said South Arfrican resident Thabo Mathe.

All this is anticipation of a huge event Tuesday, the memorial service at the main soccer stadium in Soweto.

It seats 80,000 to 100,000 people. There will be world leaders from across the globe, including President Obama and former Presidents Clinton, Bush and Carter.

For the past few days, there has been an outpouring of emotion.

It has mostly been celebration, also mixed with grief and mourning.

But most people are trying to focus on the positive and focus on the legacy of Nelson Mandela.

"Today I came here and pay respect for old Tata for actually teaching me to look beyond color, to learn how to forgive," said Lebogang Nkadimeng.

"That is what Nelson Mandela was and is actually still - bringing people together, despite differences," said Mandela's former private assistant, Zelda la Grange.

It's a week-long series of events, ending with the final state official funeral in Mandela's home, Qunu, in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, a distant part of the country, where Mandela was born and where he grew up as a young boy.

Several events over many days will be packed with a lot of emotion as the country and the world say goodbye, farewell and pay tribute to Nelson Mandela.

Tags: carter, barack Obama, George W. Bush, Obama, President Obama, Clinton , Bill Clinton, Johannesburg, South Africa, Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, President Bush, Bush, apartheid, NBC News, President Clinton, Mandela, President Carter, Rob Allen, Thabo Mathe, Qunu, Zelda la Grange
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