In Day of Prayer, S. Africa Holds Close Mandela Legacy

Madiba celebrated in church services, vigils
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2013 9:03 AM CST
In Day of Prayer, S. Africa Holds Close Mandela Legacy
A mourner closes her eyes as she sings during a mass in memory of Nelson Mandela at the Regina Mundi church, in Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013.   (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

South Africa is continuing to celebrate the legacy of Nelson Mandela with a day of prayer today, with church services and vigils dotting the country ahead of next Sunday's official state funeral for the anti-apartheid icon. "We never cry when somebody dies," says one Soweto mourner who NPR reports has prayed for six months for Mandela's recovery and today came to pray for his family. "We celebrate the life that they lived." Elsewhere:

  • Some 53 heads of state—including President Obama, who will be joined by Michelle Obama, and former presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter—have confirmed they'll attend funeral events for Mandela, reports the AP.
  • At Soweto's iconic Regina Mundi Church, Father Sebastian Rossouw called Mandela "moonlight," reports Politico. "Madiba did not doubt the light. He paved the way for a better future, but he cannot do it alone."
  • President Jacob Zuma, with Mandela's ex-wife Winnie on his arm, led tributes in Johannesburg's Bryanston Methodist Church, reports the BBC. "He stood for freedom, he fought against those who oppressed others," Zuma said. "He wanted everyone to be free."
  • Reuters has a list of this week's schedule of funeral events here.
(Read more South Africa stories.)

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