Nelson Mandela died at his Johannesburg home on December 5. The man who led South Africa out of the bondage of national apartheid, died at the age of 95.
The world has responded with an outpouring of praise for the man who served as South Africa's first post-apartheid president.
Leaders from western nations, where Mandela was once scorned as a "terrorist" revolutionary, rushed to get in line to recall him as a great leader.
A public memorial service is planned for Tuesday in a Johannesburg outdoor soccer stadium. Mandela will be buried at his ancestral home in Qunu, Eastern Cape, on December 15.
The British newspaper, the Independent, took note of Mandela's moral authority:
"Nelson Mandela was the most respected, and probably the most loved of all world leaders in the late 20th century, and the most enduring of the heroes who emerged from the political convulsions of the 1980s...
"For 27 years in jail he refused to compromise his principles, while for most of that time his own party, the African National Congress (ANC), was broken. But he emerged in February 1990 to become the dominant influence in his country, without whom peace was unlikely.
"When he was elected President in April 1994, he was accepted by whites as well as blacks as the embodiment of his country's new democracy, with a unique moral authority.
Among those who quickly announced that they will travel to South Africa to honor Mandela were U.S. President Barack Obama and two earlier U.S. presidents, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Jimmy Carter, another former U.S. president, will travel to Johannesburg with a delegation of The Elders, a group of "independent, progressive leaders committed to peace, justice and human rights."
The Elders group was founded by Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg on July 18, 2007, his 89th birthday.
According to the Elders' web site:
"When the group of Elders was launched in 2007, Mandela called on them to act as 'a fiercely independent and robust force for good, tackling complex and intractable issues -- especially those that are not popular.'
"The Elders are Martti Ahtisaari, Kofi Annan (Chair), Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Harlem Brundtland (Deputy Chair), Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, Hina Jilani, Graça Machel, Mary Robinson and Ernesto Zedillo. Desmond Tutu is an Honorary Elder...
"After founding The Elders, Nelson Mandela did not play an active role, but he remained an Honorary Elder and the inspiration for The Elders' work. In May 2010, the Elders were reunited with Nelson Mandela during one of the group's biannual meetings, in Johannesburg."