We gather at a sombre time. We give thanks to God for Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
We pray for his comfort and his dignity. We pray for his eternal peace.
We ask God to sustain Madiba’s gracious and still-smitten spouse, Mrs Graca Machel, and all members of the family.
We come not to lament or to mourn but to remember some of our most precious moments, to celebrate, to honour.
First, we should commend the Mayor of Cape Town for undertaking this programme.
… For acknowledging and seeking to formally embrace for the good of all the people of Cape Town the values and principles associated with Madiba.
… For bringing us together.
After seeing Madiba in that beautiful shirt on my way into the building, I feel I owe him an apology. I once criticised him for his dress sense. Not that it had any effect – he responded that it was a rich coming from a man in a dress).
When we look at the photographs around us we remember how special we felt, how hopeful… a nation united around Madiba.
… As we were when we voted in our first democratic election, when we won the Rugby World Cup…
… when we unveiled our astonishingly inclusive Constitution…
… and, most recently, when we hosted the soccer world cup, where Madiba’s final public appearance brought tears to many an eye.
As we know we can be.
Now, after a lifetime of service, of giving – even stricken as he is in hospital – Madiba is uniting the nation again, this time, in prayer.
Although our hearts are heavy, may we have the strength to recognise this moment for what it is: an opportunity to reflect once again on our promise, to harness our collective energy…
… to achieve our dreams.
God bless you.