It’s hard to believe that it’s already been one year since the death of South Africa’s iconic leader, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, on December 5, 2013. And it’s even harder to believe that the man who was the catalyst for so much positive change in the country is gone forever.
To commemorate Mandela’s passing, the South African government is holding an inter-faith prayer service and symbolic wreath-laying on December 5, 2014, which will be led by veterans at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
The service will be followed by a bell-ringing ceremony from 9:56:53 am to 10:00 am, then three minutes of silence. The silence will be broken by the singing of the National Anthem at 10:04 am.
The 6 minute, 7 second time lapse from the start of the ringing of the bells to the end of the moment of silence is symbolic of the 67 years Madiba spent in the service of humanity.
Those who can’t make it to Pretoria are encouraged to ring bells and sirens, play instruments, or blow into vuvuzelas from 9:57 am to 10:00am –no matter where they are in the country, or world — then observe the period of silence. Schools, community centres, places of worship around South Africa will all be participating in this event.
Other events happening around South Africa during the week-long commemoration of Mandela include:
- The Nelson Mandela Foundation has curated a selection of messages that people across the world contributed following Madiba’s death in a multimedia exhibition experience titled “In Tribute to Nelson Mandela,” which is on display at the Foundation’s Centre of Memory in Houghton, Johannesburg, from December 4th until the end of February 2015. The exhibit will also display the gun carriage which transported Madiba‘s coffin, teddy bears, and other items that were placed outside Mandela’s Houghton home in Johannesburg when he was ill, and after he died. Members of the public can visit the Centre of Memory from 09:00 am – 4:00 pm on weekdays and 9:00 am -2:00 pm on weekends.
- Nelson Mandela Remembrance Walk on December 13: 10,000 people are expected to participate in this walk, which starts in Freedom Park in Soweto and passes by iconic sites in the history and transition of South Africa. Registration is open until December 8 and forms can be accessed at www.sacr.gpg.gov.za
If you can’t participate in any of these events, there are other ways to pay your respects to Mandela:
- You can share your thoughts and memories of Mandela on Twitter using the hashtag #RememberMandela, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GovernmentZA/posts/10152373251056222:0
- Wear your favourite Mandela t-shirt or other memorabilia on December 5th
- Visit some of the sites that are linked to events in Mandela’s life and legacy, from his political activism, to his arrest and incarceration, to his tenure as President of the country
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