Statement on the death of Nelson Mandela

The Revd Ruth Gee, President of the Methodist Conference,said:

"Nelson Mandelais regarded as one of the fathers of Africa. His persistent way ofstanding up for justice has inspired Africans and the world atlarge. As a leader, one of his most impressive attributes was hisemphasis on peace and reconciliation in the post-apartheidregime.

"Nelson Mandelaattended Methodist missionary schools during his formative years.His understanding of Christian values was reflected in his passionfor social justice. Representatives from the Methodist Church inBritain who were fortunate to meet Mandela have spoken about himwith admiration: he was a welcoming, gracious and charismaticleader of exceptional ability who did not hold any bitterness aboutwhat had happened to him. During the years of his imprisonment onRobben Island, Mandela was visited by a Methodist chaplain. He willalways remain loved and honoured in our hearts."


Roy Crowder wasthe Africa Secretary for the Methodist Church in Britain from 1999to 2009. He lived in Cape Town from 1983 to 1999, where he workedas a lecturer at University of the Western Cape, and met NelsonMandela three times.

He said:"As thecrisis in South Africa deepened in the late eighties it becameclear that Government was negotiating with the ANC. The newspapersstill could not print Nelson Mandela's picture but they discussedhis future role intensely. No one could have lived up to theexpectations that were built up in that frantic period. Butmiraculously Mandela did! He grew to be the global political leaderwithout feet of clay, which was exactly what his supporters hadprojected during the Free Mandela campaign. He even riskedalienating those supporters by donning the Springbok rugby jerseyand having tea with Betsie Verwoerd, the widow of man who jailedhim. Such iconic actions instilled a spirit of unity into thepolitics of a tragically divided country."


Steve Hucklesby of The Joint Public Issues Team has also made astatement:
See www.jointpublicissues.org.uk  

The Revd Andrew Pratt has written a hymn in commemorationof the life of Nelson Mandela, which is available for all to use onthe Singing the Faith Plus website