Hundreds of South Africans pray for Mandela at church

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
January 30, 2011 13:05

JOHANNESBURG  — Hundreds of South Africans filled a historic church Sunday morning to pray for former president Nelson Mandela after his release from a local hospital earlier this week.

Rev. Benedict Mahlangu, a priest at the main Roman Catholic church in the black township of Soweto, lit a candle and asked congregants to pray for Mandela, who doctors said was treated for an acute respiratory tract infection.

More than 500 people gathered at Regina Mundi church, a former center of anti-apartheid protests and funerals.

Mahlangu said his parishioners showed great concern during Mandela's two-night hospital stay.

"Around here, there was no life, everything just stopped," Mahlangu said. "They were just asking questions: 'Why?' And I said to them, 'the man is 92 years old, he has worked for us, he has done his part and then we need to pray for him.'"


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