*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***

Nelson Mandela honoured with memorial stone in Westminster Abbey

27 July 2018

Andrew Dunsmore  

Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela, the granddaughter of Nelson Mandela, reads at a service in Westminster Abbey, during which a memorial stone for Mandela was dedicated

Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela, the granddaughter of Nelson Mandela, reads at a service in Westminster Abbey, during which a memorial stone for Mandela was...

NELSON MANDELA has become the first South African to be honoured with a memorial stone in Westminster Abbey.

In a dedication service in the Abbey on Wednesday of last week — the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth (18 July) — a black marble stone in the nave of the Abbey was dedicated to him in the presence of his granddaughter, the South African High Commissioner, and many other dignitaries.

The driving force behind honouring Mandela in this way had been the Dean of Westminster, the Very Revd John Hall, who also conducted the service. He said that a few months after Mandela’s death, a memorial service had been held in the Abbey, at which the Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, Dr Desmond Tutu, preached. The idea of the memorial stone in the Abbey was then born.

“I wanted it to be the sort of place where we can remember Nelson Mandela and his extraordinary life and work, but it should also be a place where we can pray for forgiveness and reconciliation between peoples,” Dean Hall said. “He set a wonderful example as he came out of prison not wanting to ferment violence but wanting people to live in peace together.”

The memorial stone is made of Black Belgian marble, and the words “reconciliation” and “forgiveness” sit around Mandela’s name and the years of his birth and death. It has been placed in a prominent position at the top of the nave.

The memorial to Mandela is the first to a South African among the 650 memorials in the Abbey, which include those to William Shakespeare and Diana, Princess of Wales. Dean Hall said that Mandela had visited the Abbey.

The reading in the service was from a letter that Mandela wrote in prison to his then wife, Winnie Mandela, on 1 February 1975, and was read by one of their granddaughters, Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela: “You may find that the cell is an ideal place to learn to know yourself, to search realistically and regularly the process of your own mind and feelings.”

The letter explored the external and internal factors in one’s life, and concluded: “But internal factors may be even more crucial in assessing one’s development as a human being. Honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, pure generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve others — qualities which are within easy reach of every soul — are the foundation of one’s spiritual life.”

The service was attended by the South African High Commissioner, Nomatemba Tambo, who is the daughter of Nelson Mandela’s law partner and later ANC leader-in-exile Oliver Tambo; British dignitaries; and many former South African exiles, friends, and stalwarts of Nelson Mandela, and one of his goddaughters. Some of the attendees wore traditional dress of the Xhosa, the Eastern Cape tribe that Mandela came from.

The Ubunye Choir, which is made of people from the South African diaspora, sang traditional songs during the service.

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events

Green Church Awards

Awards Ceremony: 6 September 2024

Read more details about the awards

 

Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

tickets available

 

Inspiration: The Influences That Have Shaped My Life

September - November 2024

St Martin in the Fields Autumn Lecture Series 2024

tickets available

 

SAVE THE DATE

Festival of Faith and Literature

28 February - 2 March 2025

The festival programme is soon to be announced sign up to our newsletter to stay informed about all festival news.

Festival website

 

Visit our Events page for upcoming and past events 

Welcome to the Church Times

 

To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)