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    Posted December 16, 2013 by
    Brooklyn, New York
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Nelson Mandela: Your memories

    JoyfulGypsy and 14 other iReporters contributed to Open Story: Remembering Nelson Mandela
    More from JoyfulGypsy

    Hundreds of Paper Lanterns Brighten the Brooklyn Sky in Honor of Nelson Mandela


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     JoyfulGypsy met Nelson Mandela several times over the years while traveling with the music group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, of which her husband is business manager. She and her husband were invited to participate in Sunday's tribute to the former South African president. 'Nelson Mandela has been a very significant part of our lives and life mission and we wanted to be there to honor him,' she said. 'The mood was joyous and excited and one of unity and brotherhood. People of all races came together to celebrate the life of a man known for peace, forgiveness and unity.'
    - dsashin, CNN iReport producer

    Hundreds of fans and supporters of South Africa's first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, gathered Sunday night (December 15, 2013) at Madiba Restaurant, a South African themed restaurant in Brooklyn, New York, to pay their last respects to Mandela on the day he was laid to rest in his hometown of Qunu, South Africa. Madiba Restaurant takes its name from Mandela's Xhosa clan name.


    Two hundred bright paper lanterns were lit and released into the clear night sky, floating above the colorful facade of the restaurant and up past brownstone apartment buildings as a large crowd below cheered, sang songs, danced and celebrated the life of the former South African president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate who emerged from nearly three decades in apartheid prisons to help guide the nation to democracy. Passing motorists honked their horns and shouted Mandela's name.


    The celebration continued indoors where the South African All Star band, including Bakithi Kumalo, the amazing bassist from Paul Simon's legendary Graceland band, gave a spirited performance.


    *Photos by Lulis Leal

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