In his address at the memorial service for the anti-apartheid icon, Zuma said: “That we are Madiba's compatriots and that we lived in Madiba's time is a reason for great celebration.”

"Everyone has had a Madiba moment. This world icon has touched their lives," he added, using the clan name by which many South Africans fondly refer to Mandela.

Before he spoke, Zuma had been repeatedly booed by sections of the crowd as his image flashed up on the big screens inside the stadium.

The South African presidents that followed Mandela have all lived in his political shadow, but Zuma has been stalked by political crisis.

Most recently, he was accused of spending USD 20 million of taxpayers' money to refurbish his private home.

The booing ceased for Zuma's speech, during which he underlined Mandela's role as "a fearless freedom fighter" and his legacy of freedom, human rights and democracy.

"In his honour, we commit ourselves to continue building a nation based on democratic values, of human dignity and democracy," he said.

"We'll continue building a nation free of poverty, hunger, homelessness."

(Agencies)

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