Johannesburg: Nearly 100 world leaders including President Pranab Mukherjee and US President Barack Obama came together in an unprecedented act of homage to Nelson Mandela describing him as a "giant of history".
Sanskrit shlokas were read out from Hindu scriptures in a moving ceremony in the FNB stadium in Soweto, the nerve centre of his campaign, as tens of thousands South Africans gathered to pay homage to the anti-apartheid icon and first black President who died on December 5.
The Shlokas were recited by Pundit Ashwin Trikamjee, who is the President of the South African Hindu Maha Sabha.
"It was a special privilege to have been called upon to represent the Hindu community at the memorial service," Trikamjee, who has also led Hindu prayers at the inaugurations of both former President Thabo Mbeki and President Jacob Zuma, said.
At the memorial service today, the Muslim community was represented by Moulana Ebrahim Bham of the Jamiatul Ulema of South Africa (Council of Muslim Theologians).
The Jewish community was represented by Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein and the Christian community by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.