Belfast Telegraph

Nelson Mandela death: Sea of colour at Belfast City Hall as tributes continue after a special multi-faith service

By Colin Francis

Belfast City Hall was lit up in the multi-hued colours of the South African flag last night as a tribute to Nelson Mandela.

South Africa's first black president was buried at his ancestral home of Qunu in the Eastern Cape yesterday following a full state funeral.

The City Hall has now been colourfully lit up on numerous occasions including St Valentine's Day, during the Gay Pride festival, Remembrance Day and on July 12.

Hues of red and yellow mark the Chinese New Year while Polish Independence Day will see the building turned red and white.

There are also plans to colour it green for St Patrick's Day next year.

Belfast Lord Mayor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said he was happy the the city could pay its very own tribute to the anti-apartheid champion.

He said: "This is to mark the fact that it is a day of great sadness because the world is losing Nelson Mandela," he said. "It is also a day of great joy. He has given us so much and we want to celebrate his life as well."

A special service to commemorate Mr Mandela was held in Belfast at St Anne's Cathedral on Saturday.

Mr Ó Muilleoir and the Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev John Mann, took part along with members of the expatriate South African and wider African communities.

The ceremony was open to the public, and other participants included representatives of the Roman Catholic, Methodist and Presbyterian churches, as well as the Hindu and Bahá'í faiths.

Speaking before the service Mr Ó Muilleoir said: "This is an opportunity for the people of Belfast to reflect on the life of Nelson Mandela and give thanks for the inspiration and legacy he has left us."

Dean Mann added: "I welcome this opportunity to share with the Lord Mayor and the African community in Belfast in a celebration of the life of Nelson Mandela.

"It is important that we mark the occasion of his death, but yet more important that we learn the lessons of his life."

The service, called Reflections on the Life of Nelson Mandela – Lessons in Peace and Reconciliation, was inspired by Mr Mandela's life.

It had been jointly organised by Mr Ó Muilleoir, Dean Mann, the Chapter of St Anne's Cathedral and the African and Caribbean Support Organisation NI (ACSONI).

Meanwhile, Omagh Trades Union Council held its own ceremony to celebrate the life and legacy of the former South African president.

It took place yesterday morning to coincide with the funeral.

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