Mandela lauded at Centenary Commemoration Prayer Service

Nelson Mandela.
Nelson Mandela.
Image: Getty Images

Nelson Mandela was a man who inspired people to forgive and for the betterment of humanity. 

This message came out during Mandela’s Centenary Commemoration Prayer Service that was held on Sunday at the Methodist Church of Southern Africa in Orlando. 

Mandela would have turned 100 years last week Thursday and the celebration was held in his honour at a church where his spiritual seed was planted.  

Through a video recorded message, Reverend Don Dabula, who met the former statesman in Pietermaritzburg in 1962, described Mandela as a man who spoke through his actions. 

“At the time I met him we didn’t talk. But over the coming years we were introduced and we would engage in conversations. He was a man who didn’t talk much but spoke through his actions. This inspired the people as he also advocated for forgiveness,” Dabula said. 

Amongst those who attended the celebration was Mandela’s wife, Graca Machel. 

Machel was not expected to speak during the service but rather attended the celebrations at the church where Mandela would go on Sunday’s while he lived in Orlando. 

Reverend Peter Storey told congregants that he was privileged to have been able to receive letters from Mandela while he was imprisoned in Robben Island. 

“One does not ordinarily expect letters from prison during Aparthied but I received a letter from Tata congratulating me on being elected into the leadership role of the Methodist church,” Storey said. 

He remembered the stories Mandela told him about being in jail and believing that South Africa’s situation would improve. 

“Apartheid was one of the worst things we humans brought to this world,” Storey said. “But one of the best things that we have done was to believe in a leader like Mandela.” 

Bishop Ziphozihle Siwa, the presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa described Mandela as a man who stood for his people despite his prolonged incarceration. 

“He served as a moral compass point and was a source of inspiration that another reality can exist,” Siwa said. 

He urged congregants to take a leaf from Mandela’s book and dream of a better future as this was what Madiba believed in. 

“We should take a leaf from his book and realise that we can dream for the future. 

If at any moment we experience some nightmares, that’s not the end because the future is there,” he said. 

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