OFFICERS from The Salvation Army's Southern Africa Territory sang and prayed outside the hospital in Pretoria where former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated. The group – which included territorial leaders Commissioners William and Thalitha Langa – lifted up Mr Mandela in prayer, with Chief Secretary Lieut-Colonel Robert Donaldson asking God to 'bless the former president and his family'.
The officers sang 'In Thee O Lord do I Put my Trust' after laying flowers at the hospital gates. Territorial Commander Commissioner William Langa addressed the group of onlookers and media, explaining that The Salvation Army wanted to symbolically show its support to the family of Madiba (as Mr Mandela is affectionately known) and to assure them of the prayers of Salvationists. He paid tribute to Madiba's struggle to bring freedom and peace to South Africa. The commissioner's message for the ailing anti-apartheid leader was: 'Lift up your head, look up to God and be encouraged.'
The Chief Secretary called out to God in prayer, saying: 'You have the future in your hands. You have the future of this nation in your hands and you have the future of the leader of this nation in your hands ... bring grace to our former president and all his family. Bless them and encourage them Lord, at this difficult time.'
The officers then sang a traditional African hymn, before returning to a leaders conference being held in Johannesburg.