President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama

President Obama and the first lady will make the trip to South Africa to pay their respects to the memory of former South African President Nelson Mandela and to his family, the White House announced on Friday.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney did not say what day the Obamas planned to be in South Africa but confirmed that they will participate in memorial events. A two-week-long mourning period—which the South African government has been planning for nearly a year—is set to include a speech by South African President Jacob Zuma and a public viewing of Mandela's body.


The South African government announced that Mandela would be honored with a state burial on Dec. 15.

President Obama said of the death of Nelson Mandela: "He achieved more than could be expected of any man. Today he has gone home. And we have lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth. He no longer belongs to us—he belongs to the ages."