Tribute To Nelson Mandela
Tributes have flown in from around the world for South Africa’s revered anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, who has died aged 95.
Mr Mandela – who was often referred to in his home country by his clan name Madiba – passed away peacefully at his Johannesburg home.
South African president Jacob Zuma announced the news of Mandela’s death, saying in a nationally televised address: “Fellow South Africans, our beloved Nelson Rohlihla Mandela, the founding president of our democratic nation, has departed.”
He added: “Our people have lost a father. Although we knew this day was going to come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss. His tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world. His humility, passion and humanity, earned him their love.”
US president Barack Obama said he considered himself among the “countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s life”, and the world was unlikely to see the likes of him again.
pic::obama stands in mandela’s old prison cell on Robben island near capetown
“He achieved more than could be expected of any man and today he’s gone home and we’ve lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth. He no longer belongs to us, he belongs to the ages,” America’s first black president said in a televised White House address.
“Through his fierce dignity and unbending will to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedom of others, Madiba transformed South Africa and moved all of us. His journey from a prisoner to a president embodied the promise that human beings and countries can change for the better.
“His commitment to transfer power and reconcile with those who jailed him set an example that all humanity should aspire to, whether in the lives of nations or our own personal lives. The fact that he did it all with grace and good humour and an ability to acknowledge his own imperfections only makes the man that much more remarkable.”
British prime minister David Cameron said, “A great light has gone out in the world”, adding that flags at Number 10 Downing Street would be flown at half-mast in tribute to Mandela.
“Nelson Mandela was a towering figure in our time; a legend in life and now in death – a true global hero,” Mr Cameron said in a statement.
“Meeting him was one of the great honours of my life. My heart goes out to his family – and to all in South Africa and around the world whose lives were changed through his courage”
Prime Minister Tony Abbott paid tribute to Mandela during a radio interview on 3AW.
“Nelson Mandela was one of the great figures of Africa, arguably one of the great figures of the last century,” he said.
“A truly great man. And while I never met him, I did read that book A Long Walk To Freedom, and I guess the impression we get of Nelson Mandela is someone who suffered but was not embittered but ennobled through that suffering.”
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles
Queen Elizabeth II said she was “deeply saddened” by the death of Mandela, adding that he had “worked tirelessly for the good of his country”.
“The Queen was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Nelson Mandela last night. He worked tirelessly for the good of his country, and his legacy is the peaceful South Africa we see today,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement.
Mr Mandela was the embodiment of courage and reconciliation.Prince Charles
“Her Majesty remembers with great warmth her meetings with Mr Mandela and sends her sincere condolences to his family and the people of South Africa at this very sad time.”
Prince Charles also paid tribute to the iconic anti-apartheid fighter, describing him as an “inspired leader and a great man”.
“Mr Mandela was the embodiment of courage and reconciliation. He was also a man of great humour and had a real zest for life,” he said.
“With his passing, there will be an immense void not only in his family’s lives, but also in those of all South Africans and the many others whose lives have been changed through his fight for peace, justice and freedom.
“The world has lost an inspired leader and a great man. My family and I are profoundly saddened and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress, said that in its one-time leader South Africa had lost “a colossus, an epitome of humility, equality, justice, peace and hope of millions”.
“His life gives us the courage to push forward for development and progress towards ending hunger and poverty,” the party said in a statement.
F.W. de Klerk
South Africa’s last white president, F.W. de Klerk, said Mandela’s greatest accomplishment was to unify the country and push for reconciliation between blacks and whites in the post-apartheid era.
“He was a great unifier and a very, very special man in this regard beyond everything else he did. This emphasis on reconciliation was his biggest legacy,” Mr de Klerk said in an interview with CNN.
Mr De Klerk, who released Mandela from prison in 1990 and then negotiated the end of apartheid, called Mandela a “humane” and “compassionate” man who was able to understand the fears of South Africa’s white minority in the transition to democracy.
Mandela and Mr de Klerk shared the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize for ending minority white rule and laying the foundations of democracy, with Mr De Klerk going on to serve as one of two deputy presidents in Mandela’s government after the ANC won the 1994 elections.
South Africa’s archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu lauded his compatriot and fellow Nobel peace laureate as the man who taught a deeply divided nation how to come together.
“Over the past 24 years Madiba taught us how to come together and to believe in ourselves and each other. He was a unifier from the moment he walked out of prison,” Archbishop Tutu said.
“We are relieved that his suffering is over, but our relief is drowned by our grief. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.”
Tutu dismissed doomsayers who have long predicted South Africa will fall apart after Mandela’s death.
The sun will rise tomorrow, and the next day and the next… It may not appear as bright as yesterday, but life will carry on.Desmond Tutu
“To suggest that South Africa might go up in flames – as some have predicted – is to discredit South Africans and Madiba’s legacy,” he said in a statement.\
“The sun will rise tomorrow, and the next day and the next… It may not appear as bright as yesterday, but life will carry on.”
“As we enter the mourning period, as a nation, we do so with the greatest dignity and respect because that is what we owe Madiba and ourselves.”
The UN Security Council was in session when the ambassadors received the news of Mandela’s death. They stopped their meeting and stood for a minute’s silence.
UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon hailed Mandela as a “giant for justice” who had inspired freedom movements the world over.
“Many around the world were influenced by his selfless struggle for human dignity, equality and freedom. He touched our lives in deeply personal ways,” he told reporters.
“Nelson Mandela was a giant for justice and a down-to-earth human inspiration.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Mandela’s name would always be associated with the fight against the oppression.
“Not even years in prison could break Nelson Mandela or make him bitter – a new, better South Africa eventually emerged out of his message of reconciliation,” she said.
“Nelson Mandela’s shining example and his political legacy of non-violence and the condemnation of all forms of racism will continue to inspire people around the world for many years to come.”
French president Francois Hollande said in a statement that: “Nelson Mandela made history. That of South Africa and the whole world. Nelson Mandela’s message will not disappear. It will continue to inspire fighters for freedom, and to give confidence to peoples in the defence of just causes and universal rights.”
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu described Mandela as “one of the most honorable figures of our time”.
He was the father of his people, a man of vision, a freedom fighter who rejected violence.Benjamin Netanyahu
“He was the father of his people, a man of vision, a freedom fighter who rejected violence,” he said.
“He set a personal example for his people in the long years he spent in prison. He was never arrogant. He worked to mend the tears in South African society and with his character managed to prevent outbursts of racial hatred.”
Aung San Suu Kyi
Myanmar veteran democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi described Mandela as a “great human being who raised the standard of humanity”.
“I would like to express my extreme grief at the passing away of a man who stood for human rights and equality,” she said.
“He made us all understand that nobody should be penalised for the colour of their skin or for the circumstances in which he is born.
“He also made us understand we can change the world by changing attitudes, by changing perceptions.”
The boy from the Transkei has finished his long walk.Enda Kenny
Irish prime minister Enda Kenny said Mandela transformed not only South Africa, but humanity itself.
“The name Mandela stirred our conscience and our hearts. It became synonymous with the pursuit of dignity and freedom across the globe,” he said.
“Today, a great light has been extinguished. The boy from the Transkei has finished his long walk. His journey transformed not just South Africa, but humanity itself.”
Former US president Bill Clinton, who was in office when Nelson Mandela took power in South Africa, mourned the death of a “champion for human dignity and freedom”.
“Today the world has lost one of its most important leaders and one of its finest human beings,” Mr Clinton said in a statement.
“History will remember Nelson Mandela as a champion for human dignity and freedom, for peace and reconciliation.
The Clinton and Mandela families became close, with the former US president visiting Mandela on the eve of his 94th birthday.
“Hillary, Chelsea and I have lost a true friend,” Mr Clinton said.
“All of us are living in a better world because of the life that Madiba lived. He proved that there is freedom in forgiving, that a big heart is better than a closed mind, and that life’s real victories must be shared.”
George H.W. Bush
Former US president George H.W. Bush said Mandela changed the course of history.
“As president, I watched in wonder as Nelson Mandela had the remarkable capacity to forgive his jailers following 26 years of wrongful imprisonment – setting a powerful example of redemption and grace for us all,” he said.
“He was a man of tremendous moral courage, who changed the course of history in his country.”
He made racism everywhere not just immoral but stupid.Tony Blair
Former prime minister Tony Blair recalled Mandela as “a wonderful man to be around, with a sharp wit, extraordinary political savvy and a lovely way of charming everyone in a building”.
“Through his dignity, grace and the quality of his forgiveness, he made racism everywhere not just immoral but stupid; something not only to be disagreed with, but to be despised. In its place he put the inalienable right of all humankind to be free and to be equal,” Mr Blair added.
Mandela’s fellow Nobel laureates were among those paying tribute, including the Egyptian former head of the IAEA nuclear watchdog Mohamed ElBaradei, who declared: “Let freedom reign. Humanity has lost its greatest son”.
He wasn’t one of the great men of the last century, or of this. He was head and shoulders above anyone else from the last century.Malcolm Fraser
Former Australian prime minister Malcolm Fraser described Mandela as a towering figure of the last century.
“It’s very hard to find the words to do justice to Mandela, because he wasn’t one of the great men of the last century, or of this,” he said.
“He was head and shoulders above anyone else from the last century.”
Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan said Mandela’s death “will create a huge vacuum that will be difficult to fill in our continent.”
“He will be sorely missed by all who cherish love, peace and freedom the world over…”
Chinese president Xi Jinping described Mandela as an “active champion of bilateral friendship and cooperation” and “one of the founders of China-South Africa relations”.
“Mr Mandela was a world-renowned statesman, who during the long years led the South African people through arduous struggles to the anti-apartheid victory, making a historic contribution to the establishment and development of the new South Africa,” he said.
Being in his presence was like sitting with grace and majesty at the same time.Oprah Winfrey
American talk show host Oprah Winfrey added her voice to the tributes, saying Mandela “will always be my hero”.
“One of the great honours of my life was to be invited to Nelson Mandela’s home, spend private time and get to know him,” she said.
“He was everything you’ve ever heard and more – humble and unscathed by bitterness. And he always loved to tell a good joke.
“Being in his presence was like sitting with grace and majesty at the same time. His life was a gift to us all.”
Actor Morgan Freeman played Mandela in Clint Eastwood’s 2009 film Invictus about the events surrounding the World Cup.
“Today, the world lost one of the true giants of the past century… a saint to many, a hero to all who treasure liberty, freedom and the dignity of human kind,” he said.
Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro declared three days of national mourning.
“Nine months since the passing of our comandante [Hugo Chavez], another giant of the people of the world passed away today. Madiba, you will live forever!” Maduro said on Twitter.
The people of South Africa and human rights advocates around the world have lost a great leader.Jimmy Carter
Former US president Jimmy Carter said that Mandela’s death meant that people “around the world have lost a great leader”.
“His passion for freedom and justice created new hope for generations of oppressed people worldwide, and because of him, South Africa is today one of the world’s leading democracies,” he said.
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said Mandela “fought for the abolition of apartheid with strong will”.
“On nation building, he made a major achievement with focus on the reconciliation of the people. He was a great leader,” he said.