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Rhodes staff prays for Tata

Date Released: Fri, 5 July 2013 08:44 +0200

Former president Nelson Mandela’s ill health has galvanised staff at a Rhodes University dining hall to light candles and pray every day that he gets well soon.

Ever since Madiba fell ill a month ago, all 24 staff at the Nelson Mandela dining hall have joined hands around a smiling portrait of the elder statesman before their shift to pray for God’s help.

While most people are tucked up in bed, senior caterer Frances Cannon and her early morning team take turns praying for Madiba in English and Xhosa.

“God, please do a miracle for Tata as he lies sick in bed,” 29 year-old Dumi Hebe told the huddle yesterday.

“Please do not fail us in of need,” she pleaded.

Like thousands of other ordinary people in South Africa and the rest of the world, the Rhodes workers are hoping and praying the 94-year-old will pull through and inspire them for years to come.

Cannon, who met Madiba years ago during a visit to the City of Saints, said she still gets goosebumps whenever she thinks about it.

“I felt so good to meet him, he shook my hand and spoke to me,” Cannon explained.

“I was so happy I told everyone I touched the golden hand, I really felt

this moment like I was blessed.” Cannon and her staffers said they felt privileged to work at a campus dining hall named after such a distinguished world leader.

“He is a very special person, the father of the nation, and everyone loves him.

“When we first heard Madiba was critical in hospital, we went down on our knees and prayed to the Almighty to give him the strength and power because we still need him.”

Cannon said the staff had been deeply affected by the news of Mandela’s ill health that they decided to pray and light candles every day when they arrived at work.

Hebe said a different staffer prayed each day. “We feel honoured to work in a place named after Madiba, he is the father of the whole world.”

Zamuxolo Matiwana, media liaison officer for Rhodes University, said staff at the dining hall and the rest of campus had all been inspired by Mandela’s leadership.

“We are pleased to see our staff members’ initiative, especially from Nelson Mandela Hall, who have joined the world to pray for Tata Mandela to recover from his illness,” he said.

“The Nelson Mandela Hall staff – like all the staff at Rhodes – holds Tata dearly in their hearts.

“They have been inspired by his leadership in the past and our thoughts and prayers are with his children, family and comrades.”

By: David Macgregor

Article Source: Daily Dispatch