The Congressional Black Caucus, which led protests in the USA of South Africa's apartheid movement, dominates U.S. delegation to South Africa.
GOP Rep. Aaron Schock of Illinois is leading a congressional delegation to South Africa for memorial events honoring the life of Nelson Mandela.
The congressional delegation, which includes 20 members of the Congressional Black Caucus, left early Monday so the lawmakers can attend Tuesday's service at FNB Stadium near Johannesburg. President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama also left Monday on Air Force One, bringing with them former president George W. Bush, Laura Bush and former secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Mandela, a Nobel Prize-winning human rights leader and former president of South Africa, died Thursday at the age of 95.
"I have always had great respect for former president Mandela," said Schock, who was tapped by House Speaker John Boehner to lead the congressional delegation. "The personal sacrifices he made in order to achieve what was right for the people of South Africa is something I carry with me every day. I am humbled to be leading so many of my colleagues in tribute to Nelson Mandela."
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is also part of the congressional delegation, his office confirmed.
Cruz said in a statement released Monday that Mandela "was an historic figure who led his nation to move beyond unjust segregation and toward a more humane future." The senator said Mandela's legacy is that "he nobly chose reconciliation instead of retribution."
The Congressional Black Caucus members in attendance, all Democrats, include chairwoman Marcia Fudge of Ohio, John Conyers of Michigan, Charles Rangel of New York and John Lewis of Georgia. The CBC helped lead protests of South Africa's apartheid movement in the United States and pushed for American companies to divest its resources from South Africa.
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