mandela new yorker cover

*Next week’s cover of The New Yorker will pay tribute to former South African President Nelson Mandela with a drawing that reflects a young Mandela with his fist raised – “during the time that he was on trial with over a hundred of his comrades,” noted the artist, Kadir Nelson.

“I wanted to make a simple and bold statement about Mandela and his life as a freedom fighter,” Nelson told The New Yorker of the cover, entitled, “Madiba,” Mandela’s tribal name. “The raised fist and the simple, stark palette reminded me of posters and anti-apartheid imagery of the nineteen-eighties. This painting is a tribute to the struggle for freedom from all forms of discrimination, and Nelson’s very prominent role as a leader in the anti-apartheid movement.”

President Barack Obama pauses as he makes a statement regarding the death of former South African president Nelson Mandela at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House December 5, 2013 in Washington, DC.

President Barack Obama pauses as he makes a statement regarding the death of former South African president Nelson Mandela at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House December 5, 2013 in Washington, DC.

White House spokesman Jay Carney today announced that President Obama and the First Lady will go to South Africa next week to pay their respects to the memory of Mandela and to participate in memorial events.

Officials have held off on a detailed announcement as travel plans, logistics, and security are worked out.

As previously reported, services for Mandela will be part of a mourning period in South Africa that will last about 10 days.

The South African government has scheduled the state funeral for Dec. 15, a week from Sunday. There is also a memorial service scheduled for Dec. 10, which is Tuesday.

Carney did not say whether Obama would attend the memorial, the burial, or both.

In the meantime, Obama has directed that American flags be lowered to half-staff through Monday in honor of the freedom fighter who died Thursday at age 95.

In a proclamation honoring Mandela, Obama wrote that “the United States has lost a close friend, South Africa has lost an incomparable liberator, and the world has lost an inspiration for freedom, justice, and human dignity — Nelson Mandela is no longer with us, he belongs to the ages.”

Mandela “transformed South Africa — and moved the entire world,” Obama wrote. “His journey from a prisoner to a president embodied the promise that human beings — and countries — can change for the better.”

The resolution said: “While we mourn his loss, we will forever honor Nelson Mandela’s memory. He left behind a South Africa that is free.”

The White House also announced that Obama phoned current South African President Jacob Zuma to express the nation’s condolences.