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South Africans urged to keep Mandela's legacy alive by embracing his values

The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) pays tribute to Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela at a memorial service
Responding to President Jacob Zuma's call for a national day of prayer and reflection, a capacity crowd of more than 7500 people joined two government ministers (Minister of Correctional Services, Mr Sibusiso Ndebele and Dr Pakishe Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health) and leaders of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) at a memorial service to honour the life of former President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela at the Cenacle of the Holy Spirit in Johannesburg on Sunday, 8 December 2013.

The Soweto Opera Quadro opened the celebration with a moving rendition of the national anthem before Correctional Services Minister, the Honourable Mr Sibusiso (S'bu) Ndebele, gave the key note address. Paying tribute to Nelson Mandela he thanked the legendary leader for taking the stand he did against injustice and oppression saying: "He was an inspirational icon, a pathfinder who made a choice and delivered freedom for South Africans. Let us stand up and build on his legacy."

Minister Ndebele said as people of faith, everyone had a responsibility to keep Madiba's legend alive. He said: "The letters in the word faith help guide our actions. The F represents focus, the A action, I stands for integrity, T for tenacity and H for hope. With these qualities we can keep Mandela's legacy alive."

He mentioned Biblical examples and struggles of heroes' lives where hardship and difficulties were experienced, suggesting that these challenges are important to test us and show us the way we should follow.

Minister Ndebele said: "Thanks to Nelson Mandela the oppressor has been defeated but there are still examples of oppression in our rainbow nation." He encouraged everyone to work towards making South Africa a beacon of hope for the world, as Nelson Mandela was a shining light for the people.

One way in which this could be achieved is by emulating the example shown by the inseparable friendship of Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu who refused to believe rumours about each other during the struggle period when they were separated. They had complete faith in each other and taught us that division, gossip, sexism, abuse and oppression will not help us develop strong families and build a successful nation. He said: "God chose to give us these outstanding leaders who have been a blessing to us. Now that they have left us this legacy, we must not shame them. We need to work towards building a new country which is free from abuse, drugs, rape, assault, robbery and violent crime. We should clean up our homes and communities, freeing them from negative and destructive behaviour, and respect each other as Madiba respected everyone. He ended by saying: "We know what to do - unite and move forward. This is the way. Take it."

Bishop Marcelo Pires, evangelical leader of the UCKG in South Africa, said that as Nelson Mandela worked towards creating peace in South Africa, his wish was that he could now rest in God's peace for eternity. He said: "Although his earthly body has passed away, his legacy will never die. It is your responsibility to take his legacy and multiply it and make South Africa a greater country than it is already."

Using the Biblical account of Moses and Joshua which is documented in Joshua 1:1- 2, Bishop Marcelo drew the parallel with the leadership responsibility passing from Moses to Joshua saying: "Now that Madiba is no longer with us, we should all rise up against HIV, cancer, unemployment or abuse, and work towards creating a better country for all in South Africa." With the heroes of the faith and many struggle icons gone from us, God wants to use each one of us to make a difference in our own lives and the lives of others.

Songs which had meaning for Mandela were sung, including We are the world to honour children who always had a special place in his heart and Something inside so strong which gave him hope and inspiration during the struggle years.

The crowd left, uplifted and committed to living the legacy left by Tata.

Hamba kakuhle, Madiba.


Universal Church of the Kingdom of God's press office

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