Mbete: Madiba a father figure

2013-07-02 17:15
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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Prayers for Mandela at Luthuli House

2013-07-02 14:05

A prayer service held outside Luthuli house in Johannesburg for former president Nelson Mandela, saw ANC leaders offer wishes for Mandela's recovery. Watch.WATCH

Johannesburg - Nelson Mandela is a father figure not only for South Africans but for all of humanity, ANC chairperson Baleka Mbete said on Tuesday at a governing party prayer service for the ailing former president.

"We wish he will still come out of that hospital," she said at the service outside the ANC's Luthuli House headquarters in Johannesburg.

"We still want to continue learning from his example... his humility and his hard work."

She said Mandela showed the world one could have humility while being "great" and "excellent".

"We must thank has children and family for sharing him with us."

Praying for Mandelas

Mbete said the ANC had also launched a "banner campaign". Two five-storey high banners adorned the sides of the Luthuli House building.

One read: "Nelson Mandela: Icon of our struggle," another: "Nelson Mandela: Father of our nation".
African National Congress chaplain general Reverend Vukile Mehana led prayers at the service.

"May the Lord bless father Mandela and take care of him," he said.

"Let him feel the presence of the hand of God on him."

He also prayed that Mandela's family be given "unity and understanding".

He prayed that people "who lifted their eyes" and saw the banners for Mandela, would feel the presence of God healing them of their physical and social "illnesses".

The service was held on President Street, next to Luthuli House. A large truck, which blocked the road, was decorated in ANC flags and pictures of Mandela.

It was opened on one side to reveal a stage with a podium and a PA system, where ANC officials were sitting.

One banner on the truck read: "Get well Tata Madiba. We love you".

‘We want him to have a long life’


ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe also spoke at the service.

"Growing old is not a curse, it is a blessing," he said.

"We are not tired of having an old icon. We want him to live long."

ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize said: "We want to join with the rest of the nation and the world in wishing him well."

More than a hundred Luthuli House staffers and people on the street attended the service.

Earlier, they danced to songs about Mandela, including one by local artist Zahara whose music was played over loudspeakers.

Mandela was admitted to a hospital in Pretoria on 8 June with a recurring lung infection.

On Monday, the presidency said his condition remained critical, but stable.

Prayer meetings have been held for the Nobel Peace Prize laureate outside the Medi-Clinic Heart hospital in Pretoria, at his village of Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, and in other provinces around the country.
- SAPA
Read more on:    anc  |  baleka mbete  |  zweli mkhize  |  nelson mandela  |  johannesburg
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