New Yorkers have been holding spontaneous prayer services all over the region for Nelson Mandela, former president of South African, since he passed away last week on December 5, 2013. A recent service held Sunday, December 8, at Harlem’s Mother African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, was organized by NYC’s South African community led by Imbizo, a social-political and economic group that promotes US - South Africa dialogue and engagement.
Thokoza, a group of South African and African American women vocalists brought the audience to their feet with their majestic and spirited accapella songs. The mostly musical program was highlighted by inspiring words of welcome from Rev. Dr. Richard C. Chapple Jr., Senior Pastor, Mother AME Zion Church and Pastor John Zuzo, University Heights Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Music from Broadway’s Lion King cast members, tributes from South African leaders and dignitaries and youth speakers Yoliswa Cele and Divine Muragijimani were also featured. A candlelight ceremony closed the proceedings with Sandra Zikalala's (Imbizo) remarks.
More Mandela tributes are planned in New York this week. Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture: Tuesday, December 10 at 10 am -Special SABC Live Broadcast of the Nelson Mandela Memorial service. Seating is limited. First come, first served; The Struggle for Justice: Nelson Mandela, A Tribute, a pop-up exhibit; and free film screenings, Tuesday, 12/10-Thursday, 12/12. New York Memorial Service for President Nelson Mandela, Wednesday, December 11, 5:30-8pm, Riverside Church, Nave, 490 Riverside Drive, between 120th & 122nd. This service will include NYC elected officials, community leaders and major media.