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Leeds joins the world in mourning Nelson Mandela

GUEST OF HONOUR: Nelson Mandela at the 2001 opening of Millennium Square in Leeds

LEEDS WILL pay homage to Nelson Mandela’s long walk to freedom with a commemorative walk in the city this weekend.

Tomorrow, hundreds of people from across Leeds, in West Yorkshire, are expected to take part in a remembrance walk to mark the passing of the late global icon.

Joining the city’s two landmarks named after South Africa’s first black president, the Walk of Respect will start from the Mandela Gardens in Millennium Square at 2pm and will make its way to the Mandela Community Centre in Chapeltown.

The Walk of Respect has been organised by the Celebration of Mandela Community Committee which is made up of a range of community members and organisations.

The Celebration of Mandela Community Committee chairman, Dr Carl Hylton said: “This is an opportunity for the people of Leeds, across all communities and backgrounds to join hands and honour Dr Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom.”

He continued: “The Walk of Respect is in some small way a thank you as well as a celebration of Mandela’s life, his legacy and the pivotal role he played in the struggle against apartheid and other acts of injustice.”

On arrival at the Mandela Centre, participants on the walk will be invited to sign a book of condolence and to join in an evening of poetry, dance and musical performances.

A big screen airing of Mandela’s visit to Leeds when thousands turned out to hear him accept his Honorary Freeman of the City title in April 2001.

Dr Hylton added: “We are dedicating the whole weekend to Mandela. It is a celebration of his life and everyone is invited to take part.”

The weekend’s events will also include a traditional ‘Wake Keeping’ on Saturday from 7pm at Leeds West Indian Centre.

On Sunday (December 15), from 10am there will be a live-screening Mandela’s funeral service the Leeds West Indian Centre featuring open mic tributes, African drumming, Kora and steel pan performances.

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