/ 8 August 2013

What would Madiba do?

What Would Madiba Do?

Former president Nelson Mandela's recent illness presents an opportunity for South Africans to unite, church leaders said on Wednesday.

The national executive of the South African Council of Churches (SACC), the South African Christian Leaders Initiative and heads of churches met on Thursday and resolved to pray for Mandela.

He gave the country the gift of reconciliation for the first time during and after his 27 years of imprisonment. "Many have remarked that the first gift of reconciliation did not unite us, it made us tolerant of each other at best," they said. And God is using Mandela's extended illness "to present to us a fresh challenge to unite behind the values that [Mandela] represents".

SACC president Anglican Bishop Jo Seoka said earlier on Wednesday that Mandela was conscious, but remained in a critical condition at the Medic-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria.

Mandela was admitted to hospital on June 8 with a recurring lung infection.

The church leaders described the accumulated wall of tributes outside the hospital, left by well-wishers, as "amazing".

South Africans are privileged to have Mandela and bear the accompanying responsibility of improving the country and the world, they said. "Are we today striving to reach those heights, or are we beginning to wallow in greed and self-interests?" 

"Madiba, in the quiet dignity of his illness, is calling on us to weep not for him, for he has given us the tools to be the best we can be. But we should weep for ourselves and our failure to unify behind his values and noble example." – Sapa