Nelson Mandela, a man loved and respected globally for his triumph in bringing South Africa out of apartheid, has died, leaving his supporters in mourning and the world reflecting upon his legacy.
“He made South Africans and Africans feel good about being who we are. He made us walk tall.” – Desmond Tutu
The revolutionary, politician, philanthropist and the first black president of South Africa died last night at his home in Johannesburg surrounded by family. The current President of SA, Jacob Zuma broke the news of Mandela’s passing via a special broadcast on national television.
“Our thoughts are with the South African people who today mourn the loss of the one person who more than any other came to embody their sense of a common nation,” said Zuma. “This is the moment of our deepest sorrow. Our nation has lost his greatest son. Our thoughts are with the millions of people across the world who embraced Madiba as their own and who saw his cause as their cause.”
Since the news of Mandela’s death, tributes have poured in from all over the world, with politicians from every nation commenting.
“He was not only an amazing gift to humankind, he made South Africans and Africans feel good about being who we are. He made us walk tall,” said former Anglican bishop and fellow anti-apartheid activist, Desmond Tutu – his thoughts echoed by former US President Bill Clinton. “Today the world has lost one of its most important leaders and one of the finest human beings… a champion for human dignity”.
In an emotional tribute from The White House, US President Barak Obama spoke yesterday, telling of his personal admiration for the civil rights activist. “Like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my life without the example that Nelson Mandela set. Madiba transformed South Africa and moved all of us – his journey from a prisoner to a president embodied the promise that humans can transform for the better. He achieved more than could be expected for any man and today he’s gone home. He no longer belongs to us – he belongs to the ages.”
“This is the moment of our deepest sorrow. Our nation has lost his greatest son.” – Jacob Zuma
Ahmed Kathrada, a friend and fellow prison in-mate during Mr Mandela’s 27 year sentence on Robben Island, said, “we have known each other for 67 years, and I never imagined I’d be witness to the unavoidable and traumatic reality of your passing,” adding how he’d now be left “bereft and lonely.”
Crowds have gathered outside Mandela’s Johannesburg home as people wait for confirmation on the date of his a state funeral, after which, his body will be laid to rest in Qunu, the village in Eastern Cape where he was born.
“Nelson Mandela bought us together and it is together that we will bid him farewell,” said Jacob Zuma in his broadcast. “The nation has lost its greatest son… Our people have lost a father.”
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013)