NELSON Mandela got his start as a boxer working out at the Soweto YMCA, and YMCAs across Canada are paying tribute to the late, great freedom fighter.
Until Dec. 15, a book of condolences is available at the West Portage branch of the YMCA in Winnipeg for people to pay tribute to Mandela, who died Thursday at age 95. After his state funeral Sunday, the book from the Portage West branch and others across Canada will be forwarded to YMCA Canada that will present them to the Mandela family through the Canadian Friends of Nelson Mandela.
"We were proud to be approached by the Canadian Friends of Nelson Mandela to open our doors for the public to pay tribute to Mr. Mandela," Bahadur Madhani, national board chairman of YMCA Canada and former chairman of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund (Canada) said in a prepared statement.
"Our mission is very much aligned with Mr. Mandela's moral leadership and vision with our focus on caring and nurturing of children and youth, as well as our shared values of peaceful coexistence, mutual respect and understanding of all people. As centres of community across Canada, we are a natural place where people can connect at this time of profound loss to pay tribute and celebrate the life of a true hero."
A book of condolences is also available in the lobby of the Manitoba Legislative Building. Members of the public may also express their condolences online at www.manitoba.ca/condolence.