More than 70 leaders expected for Mandela memorial, funeral

Canada's former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (right) prepares to board Challenger for a trip to Johannesburg, South Africa to attend a public memorial for Mr Nelson Mandela, in Ottawa on Dec 8, 2013. More than 70 heads of state and government are ex
Canada's former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (right) prepares to board Challenger for a trip to Johannesburg, South Africa to attend a public memorial for Mr Nelson Mandela, in Ottawa on Dec 8, 2013. More than 70 heads of state and government are expected in South Africa this week to attend funeral events for Mr Mandela, with most due to attend a huge memorial service in Johannesburg on Tuesday, officials said. -- PHOTO: REUTERS 

JOHANNESBURG (REUTERS) - More than 70 heads of state and government are expected in South Africa this week to attend funeral events for former president Nelson Mandela, with most due to attend a huge memorial service in Johannesburg on Tuesday, officials said.

"The whole world is coming to South Africa," foreign ministry spokesman Clayson Monyela said.

After what has been billed as one of the largest gatherings of global leaders in recent history, only a handful of dignitaries would go to Sunday's state burial in Mandela's ancestral home of Qunu in the Eastern Cape, he added.

"We're trying to keep that to the family," Monyela told Talk Radio 702.