Mandela honored at St. Paul memorial

Honoring Nelson Mandela
South African natives and friends Leon Rodrigues and Carol McCullar stand outside the Cathedral of St. Paul on Saturday, December 14, 2013 after a public memorial service to honor the late Nelson Mandela.
Elizabeth Baier/MPR News

About two hundred people gathered at the Cathedral of St. Paul for a public memorial service to honor the late Nelson Mandela Saturday.

Carol McCullar moved to Minnesota from South African five years ago. She says she was moved to see so many people of various religious denominations honor the late South African leader.

"In the African tradition, it is to bring closure to his life, but one cannot bring closure to Nelson Mandela's life," she said. "He is too big. It is more celebrating what he has meant to us."

Speakers at the memorial service included the mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota U.S. Senators and Representatives, and numerous faith leaders.

South African native Leon Rodrigues moved to Minnesota 18 years ago and says the memorial was a fitting tribute for the man who led the anti-apartheid movement.

"It's a very emotional time for us," he said. "We regarded Nelson Mandela as the father of our nation. And it also meant a lot to see people come and honor Nelson Mandela both in the man he was as well as in the legacy that we will all have to live."

Mandela died last week at age 95. He served as South Africa's first black and democratically elected president from 1994 to 1999. A South African state funeral is set for Sunday.

Mandela died last week at age 95. He served as South Africa's first black and democratically-elected president from 1994 to 1999. A South African state funeral is set for Sunday.

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