JOHANNESBURG — Amid cheers and song for the prisoner who became peacemaker, President Barack Obama energized tens of thousands of spectators and nearly 100 visiting heads of state Tuesday with a plea for the world to emulate former South African President Nelson Mandela, “the last great liberator of the 20th century.”
Obama’s eulogy was the rhetorical highlight of a memorial service in which South Africans celebrated Mandela’s life with singing and dancing, often during dignitaries’ speeches. They also booed their own president and were chided by a top government official who said: “Let’s not embarrass ourselves.”
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