Celebrate Mandela’s life - bishop

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South Africa's former president, Nelson Mandela, died at his home on Thursday. File photo: Mike Hutchings

Johannesburg - Former president Nelson Mandela's life should be celebrated, Methodist Church Presiding Bishop Ziphozihle Siwa said on Friday.

“Although we are sad and mourn the passing of a father, an icon, and world leader, we cannot help but celebrate his life as well,” he said in a statement.

“We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Graca, his family, and our entire nation on the loss of the man whose inspirational leadership took South Africa from the depths of despair during the dark days of apartheid into a new era of hope, peace, and freedom.”

He said the church was privileged to be associated with Mandela since the early days of his life, when he was educated at Clarkebury and then at Healdtown Methodist educational institutions in the Eastern Cape.

During Mandela's years of imprisonment on Robben Island, Methodist clergy provided him and his family with pastoral care, visiting him when they were allowed to.

“Madiba remained a committed Methodist throughout his life. As a church, we hail the qualities that confirmed him as a true son of Methodism - a life of faith in God lived in service to others,” Siwa said.

He said Mandela would live on in all South Africans.

“May uTata rest in peace as his iconic legacy continues to guide us in the transformative years ahead.”

President Jacob Zuma announced that Mandela died on Thursday night at his Houghton, Johannesburg, home surrounded by family. He was 95.


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