World leaders have mourned the death of former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela describing him as one of the greatest man that lived in the 20th century.
Mandela passed on , Thursday, aged 95. His death was announced by incumbent President Jacob Zuma, who said, ““He is now resting … he is now at peace,”…“Our nation has lost its greatest son.”
Mandela ‘courageous and profoundly good’ – Obama
America’s first black president Barack Obama Thursday mourned Nelson Mandela as a “profoundly good” man who “took history in his hands and bent the arc of the moral universe towards justice.”
Obama — who met the former South African president briefly only once in 2005, but was inspired to enter politics by the anti-apartheid hero’s example — paid a somber heartfelt tribute within 45 minutes of Mandela’s death being announced.
“We will not likely see the like of Nelson Mandela again,” Obama said in a televised statement, hailing his political hero for his “fierce dignity and unbending will to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedom of others.”
Obama said Mandela, in his journey from a “prisoner to a president,” transformed South Africa and “moved all of us.”
“He achieved more than could be expected of any man.”
“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.”
A great light has gone out’, Cameron says of Mandela
British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday said “a great light had gone out” following Nelson Mandela’s death as flags flew at half-mast at his Downing Street Office.
“Nelson Mandela was a towering figure in our time; a legend in life and now in death — a true global hero,” said Cameron.
“Across the country he loved they will be mourning a man who was the embodiment of grace,” he added.
“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.
“A great light has gone out in the world.”
Mandela ‘champion for human dignity and freedom’ – Clinton
Former US president Bill Clinton, who was in office when Nelson Mandela took power in South Africa, on Thursday 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,” Clinton said in a statement.
“History will remember Nelson Mandela as a champion for human dignity and freedom, for peace and reconciliation,” he added.
Mandela ‘taught us how to come together’ – Desmond Tutu
South Africa’s archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu lauded his compatriot and fellow Nobel peace laureate Nelson Mandela Friday 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,” Tutu said marking Mandela’s passing.
Mandela a ‘giant for justice’ – Ban
UN leader Ban Ki-moon on Thursday hailed Nelson Mandela as a “giant for justice” who had also left his mark with a profound sense of human decency.
“Many around the world were influenced by his selfless struggle for human dignity, equality and freedom. He touched our lives in deeply personal ways,” Ban told reporters in tribute to Mandela, who died earlier Thursday aged 95.
“Nelson Mandela was a giant for justice and a down-to-earth human inspiration,” the UN secretary general added.
Minutes after the announcement of his death, the UN Security Council held a moment of silence in Mandela’s memory.
Ban met the South African anti-apartheid hero in February 2009, and said he had been particularly struck by Mandela’s “selflessness and deep sense of shared purpose.”
Ban said that he had repeatedly praised Mandela for his work in ending South Africa’s brutal system of dividing races.
Mandela was equally insistent in saying “there are hundreds and hundreds of known, unknown people, who have contributed to the ending of apartheid,” Ban said of the encounter.
“I was deeply touched and moved and inspired.”
Ban said that Africa and other parts of the world had endured centuries of suffering because of colonialism.
“Only because of such great men like Nelson Mandela” have people in Africa been able “to enjoy freedom and human dignity.”
Ban said he was “humbled” by Mandela’s acheivements.
“We have to learn from the wisdom and determination and commitment of President Mandela to make this world better for all.”
“I’m deeply grateful for what he has left during his lifetime to make this world just and fair and equal,” Ban said.
Mandela made racism stupid – Blair
Former prime minister Tony Blair said Mandela had made racism “not just immoral but stupid”.
“He was a wonderful man to be around, with a sharp wit, extraordinary political savvy and a lovely way of charming everyone in a building,” recalled Blair.
“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,” he added.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, head of the world’s Anglicans, mourned the loss of South Africa’s “greatest citizen and its father.”
“Nelson Mandela, fighting to the end, is freed to be with his God in joy and reward for his great service and sacrifice.
“We pray for his family, for his friends and for his country,” added the archbishop.
Irish prime minister Enda Kenny paid tribute to the “gift” of Mandela, and offered the country’s deepest sympathies to the people of South Africa.
“The name Mandela stirred our conscience and our hearts. It became synonymous with the pursuit of dignity and freedom across the globe,” he said in a statement.
“As we mark his passing, we give thanks for the gift of Nelson Mandela. We ask that his spirit continues to inspire, guide and enlighten us as we strive to bring freedom and dignity to the family of man, our brothers and sisters, across the world,” he added.
Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond said the world has lost a “towering statesman and outstanding political leader.” ( AFP)