Mandela ‘Asimbonanga’ Prayers for Others

soweto

‘Asimbonanka’ Mandela Prayers for Others (P4O)

This Sunday we joined with Moreland Baptist Church for their Community Christmas Garden Party.

We introduced prayers for others considering the mixed feelings we often have at Christmas between celebrating peace and the chaos of fighting our way through shopping centres.   We also introduced the idea of the ‘flashmob’ as prayer; a breaking in of the ‘kingdom of God’; an ‘alternative reality’ that celebrates life and sheds a different light upon our otherwise ‘ordinary’ everyday.

Given the significance of the death of Nelson Mandela and his funeral and memorial over the last week we started prayers reading a poem that picked up some of these tensions by Richard Russeth at Open Window Press entitled Advent (for Nelson Mandela).

We made prayers for others remembering the nation of South Africa; remembering those whom we love who we will not get to share this Christmas with; victims of violence and war; homelessness; poverty and asylum seekers.  At the end of each prayer participants were invited to used the words of the Anti-aparthied era song ‘Asimbonanga’ written by Johnny Clegg during the time of Nelson Mandela’s incarceration as a responsive prayer, speaking and physically pointing firstly upward (to God) and then horizontally (to each other)

We say: hey you,

Hey, you, and you

When will we arrive at our destination?

A time of personal candle lighting was then introduced with the video of this weeks  flashmob of the Soweto Gospel Choir at a Woolworths in South Africa.

The flashmob had been planned with the choir as part of a supermarket publicity campaign but they changed the song from ‘I Feel Good’ to ‘Asimbonanga’ due to Mandela’s death.

Asimbonanga (We have not seen him) by Johnny Clegg

We have not seen him

We have not seen him, Mandela.

In the place where he is

In the place where he is kept

We have not seen our brother

In the place where he is

In the place where he died

We say: hey you,

Hey, you, and you

When will we arrive at our destination?

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