Perth tribute to Nelson Mandela

December 14, 2013 8:21 AM

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UPDATE: More than 100 people attended a memorial service in Cannington this morning to celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela.

Supporters of the former South African president gathered at Cannington Exhibition Centre from 10.30am to honour the anti-apartheid hero, who died on December 5.

Mr Mandela, South Africa's first black president, died at the age of 95 at his home in Johannesburg, stirring sadness around the world.

Multicultural Interests Minister Mike Nahan and Honorary Consul of South Africa Bill Repard were among those at the Perth service.

Some who attended the memorial wore traditional outfits while others were dressed in T-shirts with photos of Mr Mandela and the South African flag.

A table had a large photo of Mr Mandela, flowers and South African objects.

A choir opened the service, dressed in colourful outfits and passionately dancing and singing.

An indigenous man and woman led the crowd in a traditional Aboriginal greeting before the crowd stood to sing the South African national anthem.

While the memorial was tainted with a feeling of sadness because of the leader's passing, there was an overwhelming sense of positivity and love in the hall, and the day was focused on reflecting on the great things Mr Mandela did not only for South Africa, but also the world.

Mr Nahan spoke of Mr Mandela's 27 years imprisonment and said that he particularly admired the 95-year-old for three attributes: his forgiveness, humanity and commitment to humility.

"He was judged by the colour of his skin, not the content of his character, and his character, as we know now, was formidable," Mr Nahan said.

"He forgave his persecutors, he forgave the race of the people that persecuted him."

Mr Nahan became emotional towards the end of his speech, saying: "We will never forget him."


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