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8:55 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Mandela Memorial Service Set For Monday In Kansas City

"The New Yorker" honored Nelson Mandela this week with an image of the South African president as a young man.
"The New Yorker" honored Nelson Mandela this week with an image of the South African president as a young man.

South African expatriates' memories and a special version of their country’s national anthem sung by local children’s choirs will be part of a memorial service for Nelson Mandela in Kansas City, Mo., Monday night.

The event at Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 415 W. 13th St., is set for 6:30 p.m.

The service will also mark the Day of Reconciliation, a public holiday in South Africa held every Dec. 16 to mark the end of apartheid.

Karen Zimmerman, a South African now living in Kansas City, was part of the organizing committee that included Lebert Shultz, a Prairie Village resident who serves as honorary consul for South Africa. They will talk about their memories of the day Mandela was freed after spending 27 years in prison, she said, a day she remembers vividly.

“It marked everything in my life,” Zimmerman said. “Finally there was a freedom. There was a liberation. There was just such immense happiness and more than anything I think, maybe…maybe hope.”

The Kansas City Boys Choir and the Kansas City Girls Choir have learned the South African National Anthem just for the occasion, Zimmerman said. Also speaking is Surendra Bhana, a University of Kansas professor emeritus who met Mandela during his 40 years living in South Africa.