Published On: Fri, Dec 6th, 2013

World Pays Tribute to Mandela’s Death

LAGOS DECEMBER 6TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Leaders including President Barack Obama of the United States of America, United Kingdom’s Prime Minister David Cameron and President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday condoled with South Africans over the death of the first black president of South Africa, Dr. Nelson Mandela.
Reacting to Mandela’s demise, Obama described the South African leader as “a man who took history in his hands and bent the arc of the moral universe towards justice.”
Obama, who spoke some minutes after Mandela’s death was announced, said Mandela’s life had inspired his own historic path to the White House.

“And like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set. And so long as I live, I will do what I can to learn from him.
“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.”
For Cameron, with the death of Mandela, a great light has gone out in the world.
He said, “Nelson Mandela was a towering figure in our time; a legend in life and now in death – a true global hero. Across the country he loved they will be mourning a man who was the embodiment of grace. Meeting him was one of the great honours of my life.”
“I watched in wonder as Nelson Mandela had the remarkable capacity to forgive his jailers following… wrongful imprisonment – setting a powerful example of redemption and grace for us all.”
A former American President, Bill Clinton, who occupied the White House when Mandela was elected the first black president of South Africa in 1994, had the closest relationship with him of any of the living US presidents.
“Today the world has lost one of its most important leaders and one of its finest human beings, and Hillary, Chelsea and I have lost a true friend,” Clinton said. “We will remember him as a man of uncommon grace and compassion, for whom abandoning bitterness and and embracing adversaries was not just a political strategy but a way of life.”
A former US President, George W Bush described Mandela “as one of the great forces for freedom and equality of our time”.
“He bore his burdens with dignity and grace, and our world is better off because of his example. This good man will be missed, but his contributions will live on forever,” he said.
Jimmy Carter, the former US president, said, “The people of South Africa and human rights advocates around the world have lost a great leader. 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,” Tutu said marking Mandela’s passing.
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan in a condolence message to South Africa described Mandela’s death as the loss of one of history’s “greatest liberators.”
He said “Mandela will always be remembered and honoured by all mankind as one of its greatest liberators, a wise, courageous and compassionate leader, and an icon of true democracy.”
He described the former South African president “as a source of inspiration to the oppressed peoples all over the world.”
Mandela’s “death will create a huge vacuum that will be difficult to fill in our continent,” Jonathan said.
“In the course of his life-long epic struggle for freedom, fairness, justice, equity and the human rights of his oppressed people, Dr. Mandela made unparalleled personal sacrifices. The indefatigable spirit which he demonstrated throughout his life will continue to inspire present and future generations,” Jonathan said.
Also, United Nations’ Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon in his tribute, sais Mandela was “a giant for justice” whose “selfless struggle for human dignity, equality and freedom” inspired many people around the world.
“No one did more in our time to advance the values and aspirations of the United Nations,” he told reporters soon after Mandela’s death was announced.
Ban said he was deeply touched when he met Mandela in his residence in South Africa in February 2009.
“When I thanked him for his life’s work, he insisted the credit belonged to others,” Ban said. “I will never forget his selflessness and deep sense of shared purpose.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Nelson Mandela was of “the most honorable figures of our time.”
He went on to say: “He was the father of his people, a man of vision, a freedom fighter who rejected violence. 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. He will be remembered as the father of new South Africa and as an outstanding moral leader.”
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Friday hailed Nelson Mandela as “a truly great man and one of the great figures of Africa, arguably one of the great figures of the last century.”
On his part the National leader of Nigeria’s opposition party Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu through a statement released by his media office said Mandela’s departure is signals the end of an era of the generation of African leaders who never coveted power, but used power for the good of the greater number of their people.
He said Africa has indeed lost an Icon, a formidable figure, a man of character and conviction and a political leader unequaled in the history of Africa. His demise is a great loss to Africa. I extend my sympathy to the Government and people of South Africa and to the wife and family of Nelson Mandela.
He represented the moral compass in African leadership and the reference point for transparency and good governance. For long, his compelling story of struggle, prison life and journey to power will remain a classic and a tonic for others that may come after him. The Mandela story will forever resonate across the world and though retold over and over, will never loose its effect and power.
Mandela demonstrated to the world that the black man is of a higher conscience, strong conviction and brilliance, compassionate and able to master his destiny. That is part of what Mandela represented. He made us proud as Africans. He led and showed us the way. He challenged us to heed the higher calling of selfless service. But much more, he boosted the African spirit and carved a new reputation for Africa in the global world.
Mandela left a legacy of quality leadership, selfless service and sacrifice and a peoplecentered governance. His legacy will endure. From his life, other African leaders are challenged to do right by their people and submit to democratic ideals. Sadly, we have seen more African leaders jettison or depart from the Mandela option. Many of them have become sit tight leaders, while others amongst them have sought by dubious constitutional processes to elongate their stay in power. They celebrate Mandela, but lack the discipline and morale fortitude of Mandela. They stand in the way of their people progressing and make Africa a laughing stock.
Let his death revive us to the ideals of democracy. Let his political legacy, commitment to his people and the examples he left behind challenge us all to a renewed commitment to make our country and Africa better for the greatest number of her citizens.

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