Leeds will be commemorating Nelson Mandela in various ways over the next few days.
A packed service of commemoration was held yesterday [Thursday] evening in Leeds Minster [what many of you may know as the Parish Church of St Peter’s].
Extracts from the Book of Condolence were read there.
The Book is still open in the Civic Hall for anyone who wishes to sign, and there are others in Chapeltown at e.g. the Mandela Centre.
Chapeltown will be holding its own special commemorations this weekend, organised by the Celebration of Mandela Community Committee and the Leeds West Indian Centre Charitable Trust.
They will begin with a special Walk of Respect from Mandela Gardens to the Mandela Centre starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday 14 December. The walk may be joined at any point.
They will also include a live screening of the funeral, which takes place in Dr Mandela’s home birthplace of Qunu on Sunday 15 December.
Councillor Keith Wakefield, Labour’s Leader of Leeds City Council, paid his own tribute
“I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of Nelson Mandela. He was an extraordinary man, a global symbol of both freedom and the power of democracy. His patience, fortitude and willingness to forgive in the face of unimaginably testing adversity made him a true statesman.
“His selfless willingness to put the needs of his beloved South Africa and its people before his own, along with that incredible capacity for forgiveness, leave a legacy that will live on long after his death and provides great inspiration to me personally.
“Leeds people also hold him dearly in their hearts along with the city’s special connections to him. It was a truly momentous occasion and an enormous honour for Leeds when he opened Millennium Square and was greeted by crowds of thousands.
“In some small return we awarded the highest honour we could in making him an honorary freeman of Leeds as part of the celebrations marking the seventh anniversary of his achievements as a pivotal figure in bringing about the end of apartheid.
“The anti-apartheid movement in Leeds had a very strong presence, from restricting the sale of South African products in the city to influencing the naming of Mandela Gardens. This support was further reaffirmed by the successful partnership of 15 years with Durban, which came about following Leeds’ support of Mandela and his values.
“Leeds as a city is extremely proud of its associations with him and the Chapeltown community is privileged to host the Mandela Centre, a permanent reminder of one of the greatest leaders and inspirations of the twentieth and indeed the twenty-first century. Nelson Mandela was one of the greatest international icons ever, yet also a very humble human that we can learn a great deal from. He will be sorely missed.”
Alex Sobel said ‘Nelson Mandela was a great man who led a movement which freed his people from oppression. I was too young to play an active part in the Anti-Apartheid Movement but it was in large part the Labour Party’s support for the boycott and its central role in the Anti-Apartheid Movement that motivated me to join the party. I will never forget the day he came and spoke to us in Leeds on the 30th April 2001 thanking this City for its years of support for those South Africans fighting Apartheid.’
Chapeltown community organisations will be holding a series of events to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s life over the next twelve months.
For more information contact Dr Hylton on 0113 262 2270 firstname.lastname@example.org