Virginia Keppler
2 minute read
6 Dec 2017
6:20 am

Chain of reconciliation, peace and stability

Virginia Keppler

Message is to promote peace and unity in the country and on the continent.

A little boy stands with his mother in a human chain formed inside the Gallery of Leaders as part of a reconciliation interfaith prayer event held at Freedom Park to celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela who passed away on this day in 2013, members of various religious groups and community members gathered to celebrate Nelson Mandela's legacy under the theme "Count on me, together moving a non-violent South Africa forward", 5 December 2017, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

About 800 South Africans from all over Gauteng formed a human chain at Freedom Park, in Pretoria yesterday, holding hands in prayer in remembrance of four years ago when Nelson Mandela died.

Religious leaders and members of faith-based communities led the crowd in song and prayer and the message was clear, “to promote peace, reconciliation and unity in the country”.

Representatives from the Voortrekker Monument also joined in and celebrated the life of Madiba, who was Freedom Park’s patronin-chief. The heritage institutions signed a memorandum of agreement to consolidate the friendly ties between them, ultimately opening Reconciliation Road which connects the two sites.

Freedom Park CEO Jane Mufamadi said yesterday’s event serves as a build up to the National Day of Reconciliation on December 16, which stands as a reminder of where we come from, where we are and where we are going as a united nation.

“Therefore, as a beacon of hope to the entire nation, we dedicate today as a day of reflection and prayer, delivering messages of hope, peace, and reconciliation and healing to the entire nation,” Mufamadi said.

Yesterday was commemorated under the “Count me Campaign: Together moving a non-violent South Africa forward”, urging South Africans to “start with ourselves”.

“We often complain about racism, crime, violence women and child abuse, but when we see these happening to our neighbours, our friends and even our family members, we do nothing. We expect someone else to intervene,” said Mufumadi.

“The goal is to encourage everyone to take personal responsibility and take the first step to revisit a commitment to reconciliation, peace and stability. “We must reconcile our own differences with each other and emulate this to the broader audience.”

Mufamadi reminded the people of Mandela’s words on December 14, 2003, at Nobel Square in Cape Town, where he said: “Instead of hatred and revenge, we choose reconciliation and nation-building. So we decided to remember him with a simple gesture, by prayer and joining hands in a human chain.

“We symbolise a commitment to forging new links across old divides, linking the historically separated, white, coloured, Indian and black. But also linking our fellow brothers and sisters from the continent,” Mufamadi said.

– virginiak@citizen.co.za

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