Candlelight vigil for Nelson Mandela

The vigil began with a candle lighting ceremony in honor of Mandela, who died Dec. 5

· December 9, 2013, 6:27 pm   ·  Updated December 10, 2013, 12:58 am

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Luke Chen | DP

Penn’s African Student Association organized a vigil for South African leader Nelson Mandela in front of DuBois College House on Monday night. The vigil was supposed to take place on Sunday night but was postponed because of the weather. Mandela died at the age of 95 on Thursday Dec. 5 at his home in South Africa.


Nelson Mandela may be gone, but his memory will not be forgotten.

Last night, students honored the memory of the former President of South Africa at a vigil hosted in front of DuBois College House.

The vigil began with a candle lighting ceremony in honor of Mandela, who died Dec. 5. The short ceremony — which was attended by about 30 people — was followed by a moment of silence. Afterwards, the students who attended the ceremony spoke about how they felt about Mandela and how he inspired them.

For College sophomore Remy Manzi, a native of Rwanda who attended last night’s vigil, Mandela was “like a father to all African people.”

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“We look[ed] to him as a leader, as a person who brought hope to places without hope,” Manzi said. For him, going to the vigil meant “connecting to Mandela” and connecting to others over their love for the former African leader.

Ann Okhupe, a Wharton sophomore from Kenya who is a member of Penn’s African Student Association — the organization which hosted Monday night’s vigil — remembered how Mandela taught others to “love each other, love freely [and] love without fear.”

Okhupe said that she went to the vigil last night because Mandela was her “idol” and “role model.”

Another student, who recently traveled to South Africa, mourned the loss of the nation’s former president, although he said he feel Mandela had left a “lasting impact” on the country.

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College junior Denzel Cummings, co-chair of UMOJA, said that the vigil was powerful because of the variety of people who came to honor the former South African president.

“I think it was amazing that we talk about how Nelson Mandela united South Africa … and that there were individuals of all races and from diferent countries and parts of Africa present,” Cummings said.

“I think that was a testament to the work that he did in South Africa,” Cummings added.

A conversation on Mandela’s life and legacy led by DuBois Faculty Master William Gipson was held in DuBois immediately after the vigil ended.

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