(MENAFN - Arab News) Senior public and private sector officials, members of the diplomatic corps and people from all walks of life came in large numbers on Sunday to register their condolences at the demise of South African icon Nelson Mandela at the country's missions in Riyadh and Jeddah.
The South African Embassy in Riyadh and its consulate in Jeddah opened a condolence book Sunday at their respective missions for the people in the Kingdom to convey their condolences. The book will be kept open for members of the public from 8.30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a week until next Sunday.
South African Ambassador Sadik Jaffer told Arab News that the missions have stretched the service for a period of seven days since the late leader had garnered a large number of friends and well-wishers through his noble statesmanship, unique services and his dedicated efforts to ameliorate the living conditions of fellow citizens.
"We have also advised the Foreign Ministry about the opening of the condolence book so that the foreign missions could get an opportunity to convey their sympathies on the death of this great leaders," Jaffer said.
Saud Al-Zidan, the first Saudi ambassador to South Africa, was one of the early dignitaries who walked into the mission to convey his condolences. He said Mandela's death was not only a loss to Africa, but also to the whole world.
The South African Consulate in Jedda also received a large number of visitors, including consul-generals and senior officials from the Foreign Ministry, to convey their respects to the late leader.
South African Consul General in Jeddah, Ebrahim Edreis, said there was a good response from the people in the Western Province.
Edreis said that his mission would soon hold a condolence meeting.
Bangladesh Consul General Najmul Islam said that his country has declared one week of mourning for the late leader. The Bangladesh missions in Riyadh and Jeddah will fly the country's national flag at half mast for three days.
Mandela led South Africa from the shackles of apartheid to multi-racial democracy and subsequently became an international icon of peace and reconciliation.
He will be laid to rest at his ancestral village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape on Dec. 15.
A week of national mourning will include an open-air memorial service to be held at Johannesburg's Soccer City Stadium, the site of the 2010 World Cup final, on Dec. 10 in Zuma.
Mandela's body will lie in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. During these days, official memorial services will also be held in all provinces and regions.
In 1993, Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, an honor he shared with F.W. de Klerk, the white Afrikaner leader who freed him from prison three years earlier and negotiated the end of the Apartheid regime.