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

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Activists for Peace Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified boarder, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs