Front pages across the world lead on Mandela's memorial service
Front pages across the world lead on Mandela’s memorial service

Media around the world report extensively on the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg.

South African papers focus on the audience’s reaction to President Jacob Zuma.

Elsewhere, many highlight the historic handshake between US President Obama and his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro, saying that even in death, Mr Mandela achieved reconciliation.


Several South African papers focus on the reception given to President Jacob Zuma at the memorial service, with South Africa’s City Press saying the booing was the “start of a very public rebellion”.


A South African paper showed President Obama shaking Cuban leader Raul Castro’s hand

The front page of South Africa’s The Times says simply “Rain boo nation”, while The Citizen carries the headline “What a shame”.

An editorial on the Times Live website says: “It is a pity that, on the day the world came together to pay homage to Nelson Mandela, large sections of the crowd at the official memorial service heckled and booed President Jacob Zuma. Not because our scandal-prone, often bumbling, president doesn’t deserve it – he manifestly does? Yesterday was a day to celebrate a giant – and our president paid the price for failing to measure up.”

South Africa’s Mail & Guardian website says “South Africa forgotten at Mandela memorial” in its lead headline. It feels that South Africans were “forgotten” in the government’s quest to give the world a memorial for Mr Mandela “that was meant to impress internationals”.

Bill Van Aukenin in Zimbabwe’s The Herald asks: “What is it that the capitalist oligarchs in country after country really mourn in the death of Mandela? It is clearly not his will to resist an oppressive system.” He says the answer is to be found in “the historic role played by Mandela in preserving capitalist interests in the country under the most explosive conditions”.

Kenyan papers portray Mr Obama as the star speaker. The privately-owned Daily Nation says in its front page banner headline: “Obama leads world in celebrating Mandela”.

The handshake between President Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro was not lost on The People and the Business Daily, who used it as a peg to explore relations between the two countries.

Tanzania’s The Guardian newspaper refers to Mandela as a “Super Teacher” while Rwanda’s New Times newspaper website says in a front-page headline: “World leaders honour ‘giant of history'”.


Cuban papers did not mention the handshake between President Raul Castro and Mr Obama but focus on Mr Castro’s speech at the memorial instead.

Cuba’s Granma says Mr Castro “stressed that humanity would not be able to respond to the huge challenges that threaten its very existence if it did not do so by means of a renewed, concerted effort between all nations, as shown by the life of Mandela”.

In Mexico, two papers praise Mr Obama highly for shaking hands with the Cuban president.

El Universal says: “In the end, with his courteous gesture to Raul Castro, Obama put himself forward like a statesman worthy of taking up the baton left by Mandela.”

Mexico’s La Prensa points out that the US and Cuba “are two countries that have been at odds for half a century and for a few seconds, they had their first rapprochement”.

Katrina van den Heuvel in the Washington Post comments on the fact that at one point the US had included Mandela on a terror watch list: “We should not forget that our national security agencies got him and his movement wrong. And Cold Warriors in both parties chose to close their eyes to apartheid in the name of anti-communism.”

Craig Kielburger in Canada’s Globe and Mail deplores that “no-one stood up to announce legacy projects in Mandela’s name, or announce that they would build a different world for their citizens, even though US President Barack Obama implored them to? If the leaders in the audience were true to their words, and those of Mandela, the world would be a much better place”.


Ben-Dror Yemini in Israel’s Ma’ariv believes that “in the atmosphere of reconciliation and spiritual uplift that was there, it is possible that a big miracle would have happened” and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would have shaken Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s hands. “We lost a big miracle,” he regrets.

An editorial in Israel’s Ha’aretz says the absence of Israel’s senior leadership from the ceremony “is no accident and it can be seen as a symbol of Israel’s increasing diplomatic isolation”.

Iran’s Press TV says many of those paying tribute to Mr Mandela were overlooking part of what he did: “His defence of the Palestinians, Mandela believed that the Palestinians are not struggling for a state but for freedom, liberation and equality.”

The Iranian hardline paper Keyhan says in a front-page report: “Mandela did not betray his country, but what about you?” It criticises the reformist dailies, E’temad and Sharq, for publishing reports and pictures of reformist leader and ex-President Mohammad Khatami’s tribute to Mr Mandela on their front pages and accuses them of “exploiting” Mr Mandela’s death to “breathe life into their lifeless political existence”.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, commentators reflect on the need for an “Arab Mandela” in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.

Abd-al-Mun’im Sa’id in pan-Arab Al-Sharq al-Awsat says: “I do not know whether it will be possible to give birth to an Arab Mandela, especially after the Arab Spring dream has turned into an autumn nightmare.”

Khayrallah Khayrallah in pan-Arab Al-Arab al-Alamiya agrees that “there is certainly a need for an Arab Mandela sooner rather than later”.


Chinese state media bid farewell to Mr Mandela but also defend the jailing of its own Nobel laureate, Liu Xiaobo.

The state-run nationalist tabloid Global Times hits back at unnamed “Western” media for paying tribute to jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo as “China’s Mandela”.

Hong Kong political commentator Poon Siu-to in Hong Kong’s Ming Pao:

“Beijing cannot avoid Mandela… also because Beijing has tried hard in recent years to win over South Africa, Brazil, India and Russia to formed the ‘Brics’ to contend with the US and Europe for the right to speak in the international economic order.”

Several Indian newspapers publish a photograph of the Mandela memorial service on their front pages, with several leading on the handshake between Mr Obama and Mr Castro.

A report on the front page of the most widely-read English-language daily, The Times of India, shows US President Obama’s handshake with Cuba’s Raul Castro, saying “Even in death, Madiba brings sworn enemies together.”

Several Pakistani newspapers including the English-language daily Dawn, the pro-military Pakistan Observer and The Frontier Post have front-page reports covering Mr Mandela’s life, work and the memorial service.

Afghanistan’s state-run Hewad has a regret: “We, the Afghans, should also have chosen the path of non-violence to prevent the foreign war in our country and to fully ensure our national unity and sovereignty.”

An editorial in Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror says Mr Mandela “will be an example and inspiration to billions of people.”



“Mandela brings the world together”

German papers lead on the Mandela memorial service on their front pages, while one commentator criticises the German chancellor for not attending the memorial service and sending President Joachim Gauck instead.

Dagmar Dehmer writes in Der Tagesspiegel: “What does Angela Merkel actually want to convey with this rather cool decision not to travel to South Africa? That she does not particularly care about Africa?… The decision to stay away from the celebrations of the life and lifetime achievements of Nelson Mandela is wrong.”

Several French newspapers devote either their whole page or most of it to the service.

L’Humanite publishes a special edition whose front-page shows a photo of crowds in the stadium with the headline “Planet Mandela”.

Dominique Quinio in the Catholic French daily La Croix urges a thought for all those fighting injustice, rather than just for Mr Mandela. “Let there be global recognition for these unsung ‘giants’,” she says.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here

Source BBC

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