Bishop Andrus and San Francisco remember Nelson Mandela

On Wednesday, December 11, the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus spoke at San Francisco’s civic memorial honoring the late Nelson Mandela. The memorial was organized by Mayor Ed Lee’s office and was held at San Francisco City Hall.

Former Mayor Willie Brown was the event’s master of ceremonies and speakers represented various religious and political groups, all committed to the work of justice and equality for all people. Alice Huffman, president of the California NAACP was present and spoke, and South Africa’s Counsel-General Cyril Ndaba, had the crowd laughing as he imitated Nelson Mandela and reiterated Mandela’s thanks to the San Francisco Bay Area for its leadership in financial divestment in the fight to end apartheid.

George Schulz, who served as Secretary of State from 1982 to 1989, recalled his first meeting with Nelson Mandela as the meeting took place at the time much to the disappointment of many congressional leaders. Secretary Schulz encouraged the crowd to follow Mandela’s lead by taking the high ground and taking action. He admonished, “You can’t just talk; you must also do.”

The Rev. Cecil Williams of Glide Memorial Church invited people to heed the call of the Prophet Nelson, who he said, “Always stood for the poor.” Williams said that Mandela was a prophet because he “looked to the future and knew he was on to something that would stick, especially bringing hope to the poor.” Williams reiterated that Glide will always be with the people on the margins and will always feed the poor. He challenged San Francisco to similarly care for the poor in the city’s policy decisions.

Bishop Andrus praised Mandela’s fighting of spiritual warfare and embracing the concept of Ubuntu, the idea that “I am because we are,” an idea of the collectiveness of humanity. Andrus observed, “Until the world stood with South Africa, the struggle never would have reached fruitful conclusion. When the world stood in solidarity with them — Ubuntu — the spiritual warfare to end apartheid was won.”

Full video of the civic memorial is available on YouTube. Bishop Andrus is featured around the 1:06:00 mark.