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

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    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.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora