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Westminster Abbey holds Mandela memorial

TRIBUTE: Tutu speaks about Mandela's legacy at Westminster Abbey (PA)

DIGNITARIES FROM around the world attended a memorial service for Nelson Mandela at Westminster Abbey in London.

Taking place earlier today (Mar 3), the event celebrated the life of South Africa’s first black president, who fought against the oppression of the country’s racist apartheid regime, and included guests such as archbishop Desmond Tutu, British prime minister David Cameron, actor Idris Elba and Prince Harry.

The daughters of the former world leader - Zindzi and Zenani Mandela – attended the ceremony, as did ex-prime ministers John Major and Gordon Brown.

Mandela passed away on December 5, last year, at the age of 95 after months of ill health.

About 2,000 people filled the historic building in the centre of the capital to pay tribute to the iconic statesman and his legacy of peace and reconciliation.

Tutu, who spoke during the service, told the gathered guests: “He made us believe that all, each one of us, we are made of goodness.

“We are made for caring, we are made for loving, we are made for compassion, we are made for laughter, for peace.”

He added: “Without the anti-apartheid movement, without you extraordinary human beings, Mandela could so easily have died in prison.

“Wonderfully, exhilaratingly, the entire world glued to its TV sets watched as this man emerged from 27 years of incarceration.

Westminster Abbey’s dean Dr John Hall told the congregation: “His remarkable constancy under suffering stand as an example to everyone.

“In addition, his capacity for forgiveness and his generosity of spirit show what humanity at its best can achieve.

“His memorial in Westminster Abbey, justified in itself, standing amongst memorials to many of the greatest men and women of the world, not all of them British, will also prove to be a focus of contemplation and prayer for the gift of forgiveness and reconciliation in many communities and places in our troubled world.”

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