South Africa’s Day of National Prayer for Nelson Mandela

This Sunday marked a national day of prayer in South Africa for the late political leader Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday at age 95. South Africans throughout the nation gathered for a time of reflection to honor Mandela’s selfless fight for equality. “We felt it important that we should have a day where all of us as South Africans can come together and pray for our first democratic president and reflect on his legacy,” South African President Jacob Zuma said. “But it is also to pray for our nation … to pray that we not forget some of the values he fought for.”

Zuma joined Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and one of his grandsons, Mandla Mandela in a prayer service at Methodist church in Johannesburg. While, atop a hill inside a small church located in the eastern village of Qunu, where Mandela will be buried next Sunday, a 50-person celebratory service was taking place for the former first Black democratically-elected President.

Nelson Mandela’s funeral, held next Sunday, is expected to be one of the biggest in modern times, with 53 heads of state and government confirmed to attend so far, according to the Associated Press, including President Barack Obama and former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. On Tuesday a national memorial service held at Johannesburg’s 94,000-seat soccer stadium will take place for the civil rights icon, which both Barack and Michelle Obama are confirmed to attend.

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