JOHANNESBURG (AP) World leaders and joyous, singing South Africans have gathered to honor Nelson Mandela at a Soweto soccer stadium.
A cold, driving rain has kept many people away, and the 95,000 seat stadium has been about two-thirds full so far.
The ceremony began about an hour late, and while the mood was celebratory, the crowds twice booed scandal-plagued South African President Jacob Zuma, who is to give the keynote address.
A dazzling mix of royalty, statesmen and celebrities is in attendance, with the list running from Afghan President Hamid Karzai (HAH'-mihd KAHR'-zeye) to Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe (moo-GAH'-bay).
Former South African president Thabo Mbeki (TAH'-boh um-BEH'-kee), who succeeded Mandela, got a rousing cheer as he entered the stands, while United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon waved and bowed to spectators.
One black student in the crowd said Mandela's 27 years in prison had brought him freedom. Another man, who said he grew up in a "privileged position" as a white South African, credited Mandela with helping release whites from a burden of guilt through the country's reconciliation process.