BELFAST, Northern Ireland — Dr Christopher Stange, honorary consul for St. Vincent and the Grenadines to Northern Ireland and chairperson of the African Caribbean Support Organisation Northern Ireland (ACSONI) delivered the keynote address at a special service to remember the life of former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, at St Anne’s Cathedral under the theme: “Reflections on the life of Nelson Mandela — Lessons in Peace and Reconciliation”.
The service was organised in partnership with the African Caribbean Support Organisation Northern Ireland (ACSONI), Office of the Lord Mayor of Belfast and the Office of the Dean of Belfast of the Cathedral Church of Saint Anne, Belfast.
“I would like to express our sincerest condolences on behalf of the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the entire Caribbean and African community. May I call upon our brothers and sisters in Northern Ireland to join in commemorating the life of Nelson Mandela. May his lesson of reconciliation be a beacon for all of us, and may his memories remain forever in the hearts of people and countries across the world,” Stange said.
The Lord Mayor Cllr. Máirtín Ó Muilleoir added: “This is an opportunity for the people of Belfast to reflect on the life of Nelson Mandela and give thanks for the inspiration and legacy he has left us.”
Dean of Belfast, the Very Reverend John Mann commented: “I welcome this opportunity to share with the Lord Mayor and the African Caribbean community in Belfast in a celebration of the life of Nelson Mandela. It is important that we mark the occasion of his death, but yet more important that we learn the lessons of his life.”
The service focused on six “reflections”, interspersed with prayers, Bible readings and hymns. The reflections are inspired by Nelson Mandela’s life, and will take the themes of “Those Who Live In Darkness And Experience Violence”, “Freedom”, “Forgiveness”, “International Co-Operation”, “Unity And Victory Over Apartheid” and “Peace And Reconciliation”.
In addition to addresses by the Dean, Lord Mayor and Dr. Stange, participants included representatives of the Roman Catholic, Methodist and Presbyterian churches, as well as the Hindu and Bahá’í faiths. Poet Nandi Jola read two of her works, while there also was contributions from the Manukahunney Singers, the Caribbean Community, the Intsika Ka Xhosa South African dance group and Belfast’s Filipino community, as well as local business leaders and members of Belfast City Council’s Youth Forum.