KEYC - Mankato News, Weather, Sports - - South Africa Prepares to Take World Stage With Mandela Memorial

South Africa Prepares to Take World Stage With Mandela Memorial

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Soweto, South Africa -

Crews in South Africa are building the stage at a Soweto soccer stadium, where close to 100,000 people are expected at tomorrow's memorial service for Nelson Mandela. 

Mourners of all faiths and ages are gathering in South Africa, remembering the man who helped reshape their nation.

The first official tribute to Nelson Mandela happens on Tuesday at a memorial service in Soweto's soccer stadium. President and Michelle Obama boarded Air Force One this morning, on the way to attend the service. Former presidents Bush, Clinton, and Carter will be there as well, under tight security.

Outside Mandela's former home in Soweto, crowds are pouring out their love.

Giant billboards are filling up with messages of gratitude for Mandela, like one from Mr. Robert in France, and Emma, from USA, writes thank you for what you've done for South Africa - and the rest of the world.

American concert photographer Derrel Todd wanted to capture the mood here.

He says Mandela's ability to unite is clear, by looking at the diversity of people expressing condolences here, adding, "They are hugging, they are, they are, they are all smiling. They are dancing together. They are singing. Honestly,"I've only seen that at concerts at home - I've never seen that on the streets."

While nearly 100 heads of state and royalty will likely capture most of the attention as they gather for Tuesday's memorial service, here, today, tourists and township residents alike, are having their say.

For those who cannot be at the Soweto tribute, memorial services will also be held across the country to ensure that all members of the public have an opportunity to pay their respects.