Baltimore Rep. Elijah Cummings will be among 26 congressmen traveling to South Africa to attend memorial services for revered leader Nelson Mandela Tuesday in FNB Stadium, known as Soccer City in Soweto.
It was at that stadium in July 2010 that Mandela made his last public appearance at the World Cup final. Mandela, who died Thursday evening at the age of 95, will be buried Dec. 15 in his hometown of Qunu, following a traditional 10 days of mourning. It was there that the first black president of the divided country spent his childhood years.
President and Mrs. Obama will also attend, accompanied by three former Presidents – Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and their spouses.
"Around the world, Nelson Mandela served as a symbol for peace, progress, and unity in the face of hatred and discrimination," said Cummings in a statement. "He sacrificed 27 years of his life behind bars, harnessing immense personal and spiritual strength to bring his country through the oppression of apartheid. Above all, he refused to resort to violence, and never returned the vicious and hateful assaults of which he was so often a victim."
Thousands of South Africans and many other world leaders are expected at the memorial service Tuesday.