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South Africans of all faiths pray for Mandela

December 8, 2013 • World News


Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, left, Nelson Mandela’s former wife, greets worshippers at the Bryanston Methodist Church in Bryanston suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday Dec. 8, 2013. South Africa is readying itself for the arrival of a flood of world leaders for the memorial service and funeral for Nelson Mandela as thousands of mourners continued to flock to sites around the country Saturday to pay homage to the freedom struggle icon. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — In death, Nelson Mandela unified South Africans of all races and backgrounds Sunday on a day of prayer for the global statesman — from a vaulted cathedral with hymns and incense to a rural, hilltop church with goat-skin drums and barefoot dancing.

Mandela was remembered in old bedrocks of resistance to white domination as well as former bastions of loyalty to apartheid.

“May his long walk to freedom be enjoyed and realized in our time by all of us,” worshippers said in a prayer at the majestic St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town, where the first white settlers arrived centuries ago aboard European ships.

South Africa’s reflection on Mandela’s astonishing life was a prelude to a massive memorial in a Johannesburg stadium Tuesday that will draw world leaders and luminaries. They will gather to mourn, but also to salute the achievements of the prisoner who became president and an emblem of humanity’s best instincts.

The extended farewell — a bittersweet mix of grief and celebration — ends Dec. 15, when Mandela is to be buried in his rural Login to read more

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