The death of iconic South African leader Nelson Mandela, 95, has prompted an outpouring of grief from many Qatar residents this weekend, some of whom are marking his passing with online eulogies.
Others have been leaving tributes of flowers and other trinkets at the South African Embassy in Doha, which lowered its flag to half-mast on Friday out of respect for Mandela, the country’s first black president and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
On Saturday night, residents also congregated at the Corniche to pay their respects:
@dohanews @qatarliving @QatarHappening @iloveqatar @mrtribute to the late Nelson Mandela on the corniche pic.twitter.com/mDLMvWEHUJ
— Suhail chohan سهيل (@Suhailchohan) December 7, 2013
The anti-apartheid leader died at his home in Johannesburg on Thursday after a prolonged illness.
According to the Peninsula, there are an estimated 3,500 South Africans in Qatar.
Speaking to Doha News, an embassy representative said the general public is invited to sign a condolences book that has been placed outside of its gates in West Bay. Ambassadors, ministers and other VIPS will be asked to sign an official book on Monday at the embassy, from 10am to 2pm.
Meanwhile, QNA reports that Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, sent a cable of condolences to current South African president Jacob Zuma on Friday.
Symbol of freedom
Elsewhere in the Arab world, where Mandela gained respect for his vocal support of the Palestinian people, Egypt declared three days of mourning, with interim president Adly Mansour describing Mandela as a symbol of “freedom, national independence and liberation.”
And Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said, according to AFP:
“The Palestinian people will never forget his historic statement that the South African revolution will not have achieved its goals as long as the Palestinians are not free.”
Mandela will be buried on Dec. 15.