Crowd asked to give everyone there and everyone watching a warm South African welcome. Stadium about 75% full
More than 100 countries there today.
'We will reflect on the life of a man who took the pain of South Africans and made it his own....and worked to free us all.' - Cyril Ramaphosa
'He was our teacher & our mentor, and he never gave up on us for our failures.'
'In many ways, we are here to tell Madiba that his long walk is over. That he can finally rest."
Now time for multifaith opening prayers.
'Lead us from untruth to truth, like our father Nelson Mandela' (from no light to light...)
'We place on record our indebtedness to Madiba for his selfless efforts in salvaging the nation and leading it on the path to peace, reconciliation and harmony, and laying the foundation of a free and prosperous South Africa.'
'As he stood up to injustice and illegal wars, let us do likewise even if it is waged by the powerful'
'On this day of Madiba's memorial service, we pray for peace of the world.'
'Give us courage to hold to his values, to follow the examples of his practice, and to share it with the world'
'Go home Madiba, you have selflessly done all that is good...we will continue where you left off.
'May his long walk to freedom be enjoyed and realized by all'
Stadium starting to sing along, dance along. Quite a sight. 'Viva Madiba!'
Sorry, satellite feed cracking up. Hearing all the feeds from the stadium are cutting out.
We thank you for sharing this strength, and for being with us
'Madiba was a special and unique gift to the world who's legacy will never be forgotten. '
Again, the speaker is urging people to tone down their singing, dancing and celebration because they're drowning out the speeches. Heck - even the military was getting excited.
The lower bowl is pretty much empty in the stadium
The spectators are also urged to stay and not leave the stadium because the current president of South Africa is yet to speak later.
OK, here's the president of India, Pranab Mukherjee
Hold on, the band in the corner is being asked to put their instruments down and stop playing, because, you know, there are still three more speeches left.
'We in India have long admired him and all he stood for. ' = Mukherjee
Mukherjee drawing parallels to Gandhi. Both struggled, fought for equal human rights and democracy.
Now time for the President of Cuba - Raul Castro
'An example of integrity and perseverance' - Castro
'Mandela is an insurmountable example for Latin America and the Caribbean to show examples of unity and co-operation.'
'Cuba has African blood in its veins b/c it fought for independence and freedom from slavery' - Castro
'I remember his never ending friendship with (Fidel) Castro, a symbol of the brotherhood started by Nelson Mandela' - Raul
'Nelson Mandela will not go down in history for the 27 consecutive years he spent incarcerated. He will go down in history for cleaning up his soul of poison after spending so long in jail, and leaving his people knowing the new South Africa could not be built on hatred and vengeance.' - Castro
South African President Jacob Zuma is up next, and he hasn't exactly received the warmest reception here.
Cue the booing. Lisa says it's almost deafening. Singing has started - not exactly sure why.