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Nelson Mandela remembered at South LA church

First AME Church in South Los Angeles focused its services Sunday on honoring freedom fighter Nelson Mandela.
December 8, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
People across South Africa held a vigil for Nelson Mandela Sunday. He was remembered with a national day of prayer and reflection.

The service in Soweto, was just one of many held at churches, synagogues and mosques across the world.

Another memorial service is scheduled to take place Tuesday where world leaders will gather at the First National Bank Stadium in Johannesburg. That's where Mandela made his final public appearance during the 2010 World Cup.

Locally, people are also honoring Mandela. A memorial service in honor of the philanthropist drew thousands to the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Los Angeles Sunday. The service was broadcast all around the world, including South Africa.

The Mayor of Los Angeles and several council members were also in attendance paying tribute to the freedom fighter and anti-apartheid leader.

"When we see people who can't get along in Washington, we wonder how a man who was imprisoned held hands with those imprisoners and brought peace to his nation," said Mayor Eric Garcetti.

"He talks the power of truth and reconciliation and I think that's the message we want to remember today and always," said Councilman Curren D. Price Jr.

Mandela was honored at First AME Church in 1990 during a visit to Los Angeles and many people remember that visit.

"It was a phenomenal day," said Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson. "I think a couple of days later, he spoke before over 100,000 p[eople at the L.A. Coliseum. It was phenomenal."

Mandela died in his home in Johannesburg, South Africa Thursday night after a prolonged illness. He was 95 years old.

Mandela spent 27 years in prison for his fight against government sanctioned racial segregation. When he was released, he was determined to unite South Africa.

Mandela became that nation's first black president and in his later life continued to be a world leader for activism.

Mandela's push for peace, compassion and reconciliation many say changed South Africa and changed the world.

"He left those footprints and it will not do us a lot of good if we don't carry on his legacy and make things better for the world," said Bishop T. Larry Kirkland of the First AME Church.

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