Nelson Mandela remembrances held in Chicago, around world; Former South African president, anti-apartheid leader died on Thursday

Sunday will be an official day of prayer in South Africa in memory of Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday.
December 7, 2013 3:33:35 PM PST
Sunday will be an official day of prayer in South Africa in memory of Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday.

Saturday in Chicago, there were several special remembrances for the anti-apartheid leader and former South African president.

From a special performance by the Soul Children of Chicago to a round table of African American political and academic leaders at Rainbow PUSH, Chicagoans continue to honor the memory of Mandela as the city prepares for its own public tribute sometime next week.

From Chicago's Navy Pier to Nelson Mandela's Johannesburg home the tributes to the former South African president continue to pour in from all around the world.

Saturday, for the first time, his family spoke publicly about the private pain Mandela's loss has brought upon them.

"Yes, it has not been easy for the last two days and it won't be pleasant for the days to come," said Lt. Gen. Temba Templeton Matanzima, Mandela family spokesperson.

For a third consecutive day, hundreds of mourners crowded Mandela's home, among them, several prominent South African ministers.

"South Africa today is what it is because of Nelson Mandela," said Fikile Mbalula, Minister of Sport. "We are proud South Africans."

In Chicago, Reverend Jesse Jackson dedicated his Saturday broadcast to Mandela, gathering a round table of local leaders to speak about Mandela's enduring legacy and how his lessons can apply locally.

"Twenty-seven years he was a political prisoner," Rev. Jackson said. "He was persecuted. And yet he used that strength to take us to another way of resolving conflicts. Given the violence we witness in our own city we must have some capacity to resolve conflict without violence."

Meanwhile, at the Harold Washington Library, a steady stream ordinary Chicagoans lined up to sign a condolence book set up by the South African Consulate General. The book will be available at the library Sunday as well and eventually be sent back to South Africa.

"Mandela is not for South Africans. Mandela is for the world," said Karabo Lelaka, Consul Political of South Africa.

"This is the least I can do," said Tamorro Wilkins. "Pay our respects. Take a moment to honor him. To let him know and his family what he and his life meant to us."

Plans for a public tribute to Mandela here in Chicago are expected to be announced on Tuesday.

In South Africa meanwhile, Sunday marks the beginning of a week of prayer and mourning, which will include a public service at Johannesburg's soccer stadium on Tuesday, where Mandela made his last public appearance during the World Cup in 2010.


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