During a prayer service held here, a large sepia frame containing a portrait of the world icon had been placed before the gathering in Mvezo – the place of Mandela’s birth.
“We thank you father, for Mandela, a great man of this world,” Bishop John Ndabula told a packed hall of Mvezo residents, media and ANC leadership.
Several prayer services such as this will be conducted in and around Mvezo and Qunu before South Africa’s first democratic president is laid to rest tomorrow.
Mvezo falls in a region of which Mandela’s grandson Mandla is the reigning chief.
“After he departs, we will reap the fruits of his soul … people will know peace, justice and reconciliation,” said Bishop Ndabula to the gathering.
Soulful singing accompanied Ndabula’s sermon.
“South Africa and the world will know peace, justice and reconciliation through his soul,” said Ndabula.
One song led by a church choir asked for the the Lord to harbour Tata Mandela in safety.
Several leaders and chiefs from surrounding villages attended the service. Outside the hall men were hard at work with the traditional slaughtering and cooking of sheep to be served to the congregation after the service.
The men tended to the cooking, which was done in massive cast-iron pots.
One of them said that it was an honour to be doing this at service for Mandela, a man who they have great respect and admiration for.
As the songs echoed throughout the hall, many community members could be seen crying and sobbing quietly.
The women came dressed respectfully in dresses and skirts, and the men were in suits.
Banners depicting Madiba’s face, and wishing him well, were seen in and around Qunu.
The legend was smiling on the people of his humble beginnings.
“Lala Ngoxolo Tata Madiba” (Rest in Peace, Tata Madiba) had been spotted on an electronic detour sign from Qunu to Mthatha. – Citizen reporters.