Mandela, the young orator released from prison, addresses a crowd at Port Elizabeth, in April 1990 at the beginning of the negotiations to end apartheid with the De Klerk government. Juda Ngwenya / Reuters
The Prime Minister's Office says three former PMs have confirmed they will accompany Stephen Harper to South Africa to pay final respects to Nelson Mandela.
The PMO confirmed on Saturday that Harper will leave for Johannesburg on Sunday with a delegation that will include Jean Chretien, Kim Campbell and Brian Mulroney.
"One of the world's most respected political and moral leaders, Nelson Mandela was a model of humility, grace, and forgiveness who dedicated his life to the relentless pursuit of equality, justice and freedom for the people of South Africa," Harper said in a statement.
"His life and teachings touched Canadians deeply. His legend and legacy will undoubtedly inspire people from all walks of life for generations to come."
Former prime minister Paul Martin was invited to join the Canadian delegation, but has a large public meeting with the Inuit scheduled in Labrador on Monday. His spokesperson says he would have liked to have gone and feels badly.
Harper will attend a public memorial for Mandela on Tuesday in Johannesburg, as well as his lying in state in Pretoria on Wednesday.
Mandela's body will lie in state from Wednesday through Friday.
A state funeral for the former South African president is planned for next Sunday.
Canadians can pay tribute to Mandela by signing an online book of condolences the federal government has set up.