Thursday 18 January 2018

South Africans hold Mandela prayers

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, left, Nelson Mandela's former wife, and South African President Jacob Zuma attend a memorial service for Mandela at the Bryanston Methodist Church in Bryanston suburb of Johannesburg (AP)
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, left, Nelson Mandela's former wife, and South African President Jacob Zuma attend a memorial service for Mandela at the Bryanston Methodist Church in Bryanston suburb of Johannesburg (AP)
South African President Jacob Zuma addresses a service in memory of Nelson Mandela in the Bryanston suburb of Johannesburg (AP)
Members of the Dutch Reformed Church East Pretoria attend a service in memory of Nelson Mandela (AP)
A woman prays during a church service in honour of Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa (AP)
Mourners attend an early morning church service in memory of Nelson Mandela at the Regina Mundi church in Soweto (AP)

South Africans have flocked to houses of worship for a national day of prayer and reflection to honour former president Nelson Mandela.

The prayers mark the start of a series of events to commemorate the liberation struggle icon that will culminate in what is expected to be one of the biggest funerals in modern times.

A national memorial service for the man who, as the country's first black president, forged a new multiracial South Africa after helping to dismantle apartheid, will be held at a Johannesburg stadium on Tuesday.

His body will lie in state at the Union Buildings, the seat of government, in the nation's capital, Pretoria, from Wednesday to Friday, followed by his funeral and burial in the village where he spent his childhood in a remote rural part of the country next Sunday.

At the famous Regina Mundi Church in Soweto, Father Sebastian J. Rossouw described Mr Mandela as "moonlight," saying he offered a guiding light for South Africa. Hundreds of people attended mass in the small church.

1999 Mandela and Michael Jackson arrive at a news conference in Cape Town, where Jackson announced dates for two concerts with profits to go to various funds including the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.
1999 Mandela and Michael Jackson arrive at a news conference in Cape Town, where Jackson announced dates for two concerts with profits to go to various funds including the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.
March 17, 1997, South African President Nelson Mandela, shows the way to Britain's Princess Diana in Cape Town, South Africa, where they discussed the threat of AIDS in the country.
Popstar Beyoncé posted this photo to her Instagram account after learning of the death of Nelson Mandela. 'Thank you for all you have sacrificed to improve the lives of other human beings. Rest in peace," she wrote.
May 19, 1998, Cuban leader Fidel Castro,shares a laugh with South Africa President Nelson Mandela at a meeting of the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.
1993, Roy Keane meeting Nelson Mandela while on a pre-season tour of South Africa with Manchester United.
Nov. 28, 2003, Nelson Mandela with U.S. singer Beyonce Knowles and British singer Annie Lennox on Robben Island in Cape Town, South Africa. The singers were in town to perform at the Nelson Mandela 46664 AIDS Awareness concert.
May 21, 2003, Nelson Mandela chats with England's soccer captain David Beckham at the Nelson Mandela Foundation office in Johannesburg.
South African President Nelson Mandela guides Pope John Paul II after they met at Johannesburg International Airport, at the start of the pope's first official visit to the country, in this file picture taken September 16, 1995.
31 May 1998, Nelson Mandela, flanked by Spice Girls at the presidential residence Mahlamba Nalopfu in Pretoria, South Africa.
July 20, 1996. South African President Nelson Mandela and U.S. pop star Michael Jackson hug each other at the president's official home in Cape Town.
29 August 2007 of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Former South African President Nelson Mandela applauding performers during a statue unveiling ceremony in Nelson Mandela's honour at Parliament Square, London.
27 October 1995, Nelson Mandela shaking hands with England's Mike Atherton during a drinks interval in their match against Invitation XI in Soweto.
16 June 1998 of South African President Nelson Mandela greeting Irish Taoiseach Bertie Aherne at the Euro Summit in Cardiff.
August 6, 2012, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Nelson Mandela, 94, former president of South Africa, at his home in Qunu, South Africa.
10 August 1996 Prime Minister John Major meeting President Nelson Mandela at Downing Street.
29 June 2008, Former South African President Nelson Mandela speaking with Conservative Party leader David Cameron at The Dorchester in central London.
April 2009, Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay meets Nelson Mandela during a lunch to Benefit the Mandela Children's Foundation.
11/04/2000 President Mary McAleese with former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela, during a meeting at the Presidents Palace in Dublin.
27 August 2008,Nelson Mandela joined on stage by his guests during the 46664 concert honouring Nelson Mandela's ninetieth birthday in Hyde Park, London.
25 April 1991 Nelson Mandela enjoying his first look at his wax work model at Madame Tussauds, London.
October 31, 2004, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is pictured meeting with Nelson Mandela the former leader of South Africa.
02 August 2003, former US President Bill Clinton and former South African President Nelson Mandela, during a gala night to mark the centenary of the Rhodes Trust and the establishment of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, at Westminster.
28 June 2000, Nelson Mandela waving to delegates flanked by Prime Minister Tony Blair at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton.
9 August 1996, Nelson Mandela, accompanied by his daughter Princess Zenani Mandela-Dlamini, standing with The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace before a state banquet in the president's honour.
February 1, 2002 Britain's Prince Charles shares a light moment with Nelson Mandela during a show at the Amsterdam arena.
December 6, 2002, Nelson Mandela poses with television personality Oprah Winfrey in Henley, Johannesburg.
May 25, 2002, Former South African President Nelson Mandela and Bono pose together after meeting at Mandela's residence at Houghton in Johannesburg.
March 11, 1997, South African President Nelson Mandela shares a joke with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates after their meeting at Mandela's residence in Cape Town.
February 29, 2008, France's President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy pose with former South African President Nelson Mandela during their visit to the Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg.
July 2, 2003, Nelson Mandela is assisted by Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair and former U.S. president Bill Clinton after attending a Gala night in Westminster Hall, London.
March 24, 1995, President Nelson Mandela and Brazilian Sport Minister and former soccer player Pele smile for photographers at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
June 15, 1990, Pope John Paul II, shakes hands with Nelson Mandela, deputy leader of African National Congress, during a private audience at the Vatican.

"Madiba did not doubt the light," Mr Rossouw said. "He paved the way for a better future, but he cannot do it alone."

During the service, worshippers offered special prayers for the anti-apartheid leader and lit a candle in his honour in front of the altar. Off to the side of the sanctuary was a black and white photo of Mr Mandela, who died on Thursday at aged 95.

Mourners gather outside the home of former President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa Friday, Dec. 6, 2013 where Mandela died Thursday night after a long illness.
Mourners gather outside the home of former President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa Friday, Dec. 6, 2013 where Mandela died Thursday night after a long illness.
Boys look at a poster of former South African President Nelson Mandela as they gather outside Mandela's house after news of his death in Houghton, December 6, 2013.
Chinese residents bow to a banner bearing a picture of former South African President Nelson Mandela as they pay tribute in front of the South African Embassy in Beijing December 6, 2013.
Busi Mhlanga of South Africa reacts at a gathering in memory of Nelson Mandela outside the South African High Commission across from Trafalgar Square in London December 5, 2013.
A boy holds posters outside the house of former South African President Nelson Mandela after news of his death in Houghton, December 6, 2013.
People mourn the death of former President Nelson Mandela outside Cape Town City Hall, where Mandela made his first speech after his release from his 27-year incarceration, December 6, 2013.
Alex Klein, 7, of Bethesda, Maryland, grasps the fence in front of a statue of Nelson Mandela outside the Embassy of South Africa after police locked it with a chain in Washington December 5, 2013.
A woman holds a candle outside the house of former South African President Nelson Mandela after news of his death in Houghton, December 6, 2013.
A couple embraces outside the house of former South African President Nelson Mandela after news of his death in Houghton, December 6, 2013.
A girl holds a South African national flag as people mourn the death of former President Nelson Mandela outside Cape Town City Hall, where Mandela made his first speech after his release from his 27-year incarceration, December 6, 2013.
A man poses with a template for a newspaper poster headline announcing the death of South Africa's former President Nelson Mandela and paying tribute to him at a printing press in the early hours of the morning in Cape Town December 6, 2013.
Mourners light candles outside the Embassy of South Africa after the death of Nelson Mandela in Washington December 5, 2013.
Mourners look at a statue of Nelson Mandela outside the Embassy of South Africa in Washington December 5, 2013.
Adam Keith and Summer Lopez of Washington DC look on as the South African national flag is lowered to half mast outside the Embassy of South Africa in Washington December 5, 2013.
South African President Jacob Zuma, announcing that Mandela died at his Johannesburg home on Thursday after a prolonged lung infection.
Newspaper posters announcing the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela are displayed at a printing press in the early hours of the morning in Cape Town December 6, 2013.
A man writes a message on a poster of Nelson Mandela on Vilakazi Street in Soweto where former South African President Nelson Mandela resided when he lived in the township, December 6, 2013.
People gather on Vilakazi Street in Soweto, where former South African President Nelson Mandela resided when he lived in the township, December 6, 2013.
Two women console each other outside on Vilakazi Street in Soweto, where former South African President Nelson Mandela resided when he lived in the township, December 6, 2013.
People gather on Vilakazi Street in Soweto, where former South African President Nelson Mandela resided when he lived in the township, December 6, 2013.
Soldiers guard the home of former South African President Nelson Mandela in Qunu, December 6, 2013.
People read a newspaper on Vilakazi Street in Soweto, where former South African President Nelson Mandela resided when he lived in the township, December 6, 2013.
A mother consoles her crying son during a gathering for people mourning the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela on Vilakazi Street in Soweto, where Mandela resided when he lived in the township, December 6, 2013.
Candles burn in an impromptu shrine outside the residence of former South African President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg December 6, 2013.
A mother consoles her crying son during a gathering for people mourning the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela on Vilakazi Street in Soweto, where Mandela resided when he lived in the township, December 6, 2013.
A mourner holds a newspaper during an all-night vigil outside the home of former South African President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg December 6, 2013.
A man prays during an all-night vigil outside the home of former South African President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg December 6, 2013.
A shepherd herds livestock past the home of former South African President Nelson Mandela in Qunu December 6, 2013.
A shepherd herds livestock along the fence line past soldiers guarding the home of former South African President Nelson Mandela in Qunu December 6, 2013.
A boy pauses at a shrine outside the home of former South African President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg December 6, 2013.
An artist who goes by the name "Franco the Great" stands in front of a mural of South African leader Nelson Mandela that he painted in 1995, and later added U.S. President Barack Obama, on 125th Street in the Harlem neighborhood of New York, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013.
A picture and a letter are placed in front of the South African Embassy to pay tribute to former South African President Nelson Mandela, in Beijing December 6, 2013.
A paramilitary soldier walks past banners bearing pictures former South African President Nelson Mandela in front of the South African Embassy in Beijing December 6, 2013.

Scores of foreign leaders and other luminaries are expected to travel to South Africa to honour Mr Mandela.

Among those who have already indicated that they will be coming to South Africa are US president Barack Obama and his two predecessors, George W Bush and Bill Clinton.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will also travel to Johannesburg for the memorial service, the United Nations said.

AP

"We felt it important that we should have a day where all of us as South Africans can come together and pray for our first democratic president and reflect on his legacy," President Jacob Zuma said at a Methodist church service in Johannesburg. "But it is also to pray for our nation ... to pray that we not forget some of the values he fought for."

Mr Zuma said Mr Mandela had forgiven even those who had kept him in prison for 27 years, and that he had opposed both white and black domination.

Press Association

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