Mandela – model for all
THE?RELIGIOUS community of Barbados converged on the St Patrick’s Cathedral for one purpose last Friday night.
It was to pay tribute to the late Nelson Rolihlahla “Madiba” Mandela, freedom fighter and first democratically elected president of South Africa who died two Thursdays ago.
The ecumenical service, organized by the Barbados Christian Council in association with the Ministry of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, was graced with the presence of Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Opposition leader Mia Mottley, Minister of Social Care Steve Blackett and some of his Cabinet colleagues and Canadian High Commissioner to Barbados Richard , among others.
Those paying tribute included the Prime Minister, Mottley, Roman Catholic Bishop of Bridgetown-Kingstown Jason Gordon, Archbishop of the Church of the Provice of the West and Bishop of Barbados Dr John Holder and representative of the Muslim Association of Barbados, Sabir Nakhuda.
In his address Stuart said Mandela was “born in a context of injustice and in the face of an apparatus of oppression and that context shaped his life and he determined that he was going to dismantle that architecture of oppression”.
He said when Mandela physically left “prison the option was open to him – as it is open to all of us when we would be wronged – to be vengeful, to see spite as an option; he frowned on that option”.
Bishop Gordon said Mandela, “epitomized sacrificial love”.
“Even during and after 27 years of imprisonment he never allowed himself to become a victim. Rather, on his release, he sought reconciliation with those who hated him and his people. All this he did because of his vision of an inclusive South Africa.”
Bishop Holder, in his tribute, said the circumstances that, “converged to shape and produced Nelson Mandela may never be so again”.
“But we thank God out of them emerged someone who can be held high as a model of what it truly means to be a child of God indeed what it means to be human.” (JS)