News / Africa

South Africans Offer Prayers for Madiba

Across South Africa, Worshipers Pay Tribute to Mandelai
X
December 08, 2013 7:10 PM
People across South Africa flocked to places of worship Sunday to honor the memory of former President Nelson Mandela. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from Johannesburg, it was a chance for quiet reflection ahead of a week of special events leading up to the funeral (December 15) for the man known as Madiba.

Related video report by Henry Ridgwell from Johannesburg

— Mourners across South Africa heeded President Jacob Zuma’s call to take time to worship and pray Sunday for the late president Nelson Mandela. At temples, mosques, synagogues and churches across the country, there were prayers for the man many South Africans refer to as Tata, or father.

At the Regina Mundi Roman Catholic Church in Soweto, early risers attended a 7 a.m. mass.

Parishioner Caroline Thakadu, a school administrator in Soweto, goes to the church each Sunday. She offered prayers for Mandela and South Africa.

"For our country I would ask God, to give us strength and unity and peace that Madiba, was, stood for. And people that are coming after him must behave the way he behaved. People mustn't look for what is for themselves. They must work for nation as he did. That is what we are asking for… May his soul rest in peace and there must be unity in South Africa," she said.

The church was a key meeting place for activists during the anti-apartheid struggle. Its sanctuary includes a stained glass window showing Mandela waving both hands in the air.

Thakadu said she was happy Mandela was no longer struggling in poor health.

"Tata Madiba, I feel relieved and I feel happy for his spirit, because now he's resting, everybody was suffering. So for that, that God has made this day, that he must rest, we are happy about that. But as Christians we know that after death there's life," she said.

Sunday morning worship service at the Melrose Temple, a Hindu temple in Johannesburg. The service is dedicated to the memory of former South African President Nelson Mandela. (Peter Cox/VOA)Sunday morning worship service at the Melrose Temple, a Hindu temple in Johannesburg. The service is dedicated to the memory of former South African President Nelson Mandela. (Peter Cox/VOA)
x
Sunday morning worship service at the Melrose Temple, a Hindu temple in Johannesburg. The service is dedicated to the memory of former South African President Nelson Mandela. (Peter Cox/VOA)
Sunday morning worship service at the Melrose Temple, a Hindu temple in Johannesburg. The service is dedicated to the memory of former South African President Nelson Mandela. (Peter Cox/VOA)
Just north of Mandela's home in Houghton, the Melrose Hindu Temple held Sunday services, which temple trustee Gopal Thangavel Padayichie dedicated to Mandela's memory.

"We're hosting this particular prayer and service in the name of the great world icon and gracious man. The most noblest of all. We're holding this prayer in his memory, and we pray to Lord Muruga that he grants his soul peace forever," said Padayichie.

In the early 1990s, Nelson Mandela came to this Hindu place of worship in Johannesburg to offer a prayer on a day he was going in for a cataract operation.

He signed the temple's register book and told temple leaders to come visit his office for a donation. They obliged, and he stepped out of a meeting to speak with them.

"That was the greatest day of my life to meet a man of that caliber," he said.

Padayichie later learned that Mandela had twice used the temple as a hiding spot in Johannesburg during the 1960s before he was tried and incarcerated for trying to overthrow the apartheid government.

  • Nelson Mandela smiles for photographers at his home in Johannesburg September 22, 2005.
  • Nelson Mandela and his then wife, Winnie, salute well-wishers as he leaves Victor Verster prison on Feb. 11, 1990.
  • This undated photograph shows Nelson Mandela and his former wife, Winnie.
  • South African State President Frederik Willem de Klerk and Deputy President of the African National Congress Nelson Mandela prior to talks, Cape Town, May 2, 1990.
  • Nelson Mandela, is seen as he gives the black power salute to 120,000 ANC supporters in Soweto's Soccer City stadium, Feb. 13, 1990.
  • Then-African National Congress President Nelson Mandela salutes the crowd in Galeshewe Stadium near Kimberley, South Africa, Feb. 25, 1994.
  • Nelson Mandela and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II ride in a carriage outside Buckingham Palace on the first day of a state visit to Britain, July 9, 1996.
  • President Nelson Mandela and Britain's Prince Charles shake hands alongside members of the Spice Girls, Nov. 1, 1997.
  • Former U.S President Bill Clinton and former South African President Nelson Mandela speak during a Gala night in Westminster Hall, London, July 2, 2003.
  • Oscar winning South African actress Charlize Theron weeps at her meeting with former South African President Nelson Mandela at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton, March 11,2004.
  • Nelson Mandela and his wife, Graca Machel, wave to the audience during a Live 8 concert in Johannesburg, July 2, 2005.
  • Nelson Mandela jokes with youngsters as they celebrate his 89th birthday at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund in Johannesburg, July 24, 2007.
  • Former South African president Nelson Mandela, center, followed by his grandson Mandla Mandela, rear right, arrives at the ceremony in Mvezo, South Africa, April 16, 2007.
  • Nelson Mandela waves to the media as he arrives outside 10 Downing Street, London, August 28, 2007.
  • Nelson Mandela waves as he arrives to attend the 2010 World Cup football final Netherlands vs. Spain on July 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto.
  • Nelson Mandela poses for a photograph after receiving a torch to celebrate the African National Congress' centenary in his home village Qunu, May 30, 2012.

Vishnu Ramjith, another member of the Melrose Temple, said Mandela was on his mind through the day.

"I've just come from his house now, where we lit a candle and a clay lamp. ….People are just laying wreaths, paying tributes. They are not mourning. They are celebrating," he said.

Ramjith said his faith compelled him to celebrate Mandela's life, rather than mourn the former president's death.

"In Hinduism, we say look, we believe in reincarnation, and we know that a good soul has taken birth somewhere else. There will be other Mandelas born and obviously you will find - like they say, history repeats itself. There will be Mandelas somewhere, sometime, in some other place in the world that will bring salvation to our troubled planet," he said.

After the sadness of Mandela’s passing, most South Africans are sharing that sentiment.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
December 09, 2013 12:32 AM
Reincarnation is a good idea. Yes, he must be going to have another life somewhere and sometime in the world.


by: Charles McCray from: Nipomo
December 08, 2013 12:22 PM
My prayers are for his family, & the world. We will NEVER see another man like Nelson Mandela. He did more for the world than anyone in history, in spite of the injustice put upon him.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid