Obamas to attend Mandela memorial

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will travel to South Africa next week to "pay their respects to the memory of Nelson Mandela and to participate in memorial events," White House press secretary Jay Carney said Friday.

The exact dates of their travel weren't given.

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South African President Jacob Zuma announced earlier in the day that Mandela would be buried on Dec. 15 following 10 days of national mourning at his ancestral home in the Eastern Cape.

There will also be a Dec. 10 memorial service for the anti-apartheid leader at Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium, the site of the 2010 World Cup final.

"We will spend the week mourning his passing. We will also spend it celebrating a life well lived," Zuma said.

Carney said details about which events would include the president and first lady will be announced later.

On Thursday, Obama ordered U.S. flags to be flown at half staff until sunset Monday in honor of Mandela, who he has hailed as a personal and global hero.

The president heralded Mandela as "a moral giant who embodied the dignity and the courage and the hope, and sought to bring about justice not only in South Africa, but I think to inspire millions of people around the world."