Minutes after news of the passing away of former South African president Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, tributes and speeches started streaming in.
US President Barack Obama was one of the first global leaders to speak out following the news that the country’s first black president had passed away.
Speaking from the White House on Thursday, Obama said he was one of the countless millions around the world who was influenced by the anti-apartheid activist Mandela.
|US President Barack Obama|
Obama met Mandela’s family earlier this year when he visited South Africa, but he did not meet with the ailing leader, who was hospitalised throughout the US president’s visit.
Obama told the media that had been inspired by Mandela, who spent most of his life struggling against apartheid.
“My very first political action it was a protest against apartheid,” Obama said.
“Nelson mandela lived for an ideal and he made it real. He achieved more than could be expected from any man.
“He no longer belongs to us, he belongs to the ages.”
Obama said that Madiba transformed South Africa and “moved all of us”.
|UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon|
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said 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 Thursday.
“Nelson Mandela showed what is possible for our world, and within each one of us, if we believe a dream and work together for justice and humanity,” Ban said.
“Let us continue each day to be inspired by Nelson Mandela’s lifelong example to keep working for a better and more just world.”
The UN Security Council interrupted a meeting on the tribunals for former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and stood for a minute in silent tribute to Mandela.
|South African President Jacob Zuma|
The news was announced by current South African president Jacob Zuma on the country’s state television.
“Fellow south Africans our beloved Nelson Mandela, the founding president of our democratic nation has died. He passed on peacefully in the company of his family around 20:50 on the December 5, 2013.
“Our nation has lost his greatest son. Our people have lost a father.”
“Although we knew that this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss,” Zuma told the nation.
Zuma also remembered the friends comrades and colleagues who fought alongside Madiba, as he was affectionately known amongst his admirers.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with him are with the Mandela,” he said.
|EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso|
His name will be not only in history books, but in the hearts and minds of many people around the world.
“There are some persons that we will never like to know that they have disappeared. Nelson Mandela was one of those persons, a great man that left his mark, not only in his native South Africa, not only in Africa, but all over the world.
“His name will be not only in history books, but in the hearts and minds of many people around the world that will never forget his example of courage and freedom, but also of tolerance and spirit of reconciliation.
“What a great example Nelson Mandela was, Nelson Mandela is, because his example will be bigger than death.”
|Archbishop Desmond Tutu|
“He was a unifier from the moment he walked out of prison. He taught us how to come together and believe in ourselves.”
Tutu also said in a statement: “God was so good to us in South Africa by giving us Nelson Mandela to be our president at a crucial moment in our history.
“He inspired us to walk the path of forgiveness and reconciliation and so South Africa did not go up in flames. Thank you God, for this wonderful gift who became a moral colossus, a global icon of forgiveness and reconciliation. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.”
|The Dalai Lama|
“In his death the world has lost a great leader, whose steadfast and unflinching determination played a key role in securing peace and reconciliation during South Africa’s transition from apartheid rule. Under his leadership South Africa was transformed through peaceful means, in the spirit of reconciliation.
“He was a man of courage, principle and unquestionable integrity, a great human being, someone of whom we can truly say, ‘He lived a meaningful life.’ I pray for him and offer my heartfelt condolences to you, the members of your family and the entire people of South Africa.”
|Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi|
“I would like to express my extreme grief at the passing away of a man who stood for human rights and for equality in this world. He made us all understand that nobody should be penalised for the colour of his skin, for the circumstances into which he is born.
“He also made us understand that we can change the world. We can change the world by changing attitudes, by changing perceptions. For this reason I would like to pay him tribute as a great human being who raised the standard of humanity.”
|Lakhdar Brahimi, former Foreign Minister of Algeria|
“Men and women everywhere feel they have lost someone very close to them, a man they loved deeply and respected and admired profoundly.
“It was such a privilege to have known him, to have listened to him a number of times, to have participated, however modestly, in his gigantic achievement: the end of apartheid and the restoration of lasting peace and reconciliation in South Africa.”
|Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff|
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff mourned the death of Nelson Mandela on Thursday, hailing him as an example for
those fighting for justice and peace.
“The example of this great leader will guide all those who fight for social justice and peace in the world,” she said in a statement.
She described South Africa’s first black president, who died at his home in Johannesburg at the age of 95, as the greatest personality of the 20th century.
|British PM David Cameron|
“A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time.”
|Israeli President Shimon Peres|
“One man united an entire world, one man changed an entire world, one man with a moral force has shown that he is stronger than all armies, stronger than all forces. We shall remember him with love and appreciation and we shall not forget his personality because we need it to guide our lives in the future.”
|Chinese President Xi Jinping|
“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.
“Mr Mandela, who visited China twice, was also one of the founders of China-South Africa relations, and an active champion of bilateral friendship and cooperation.”
|Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan|
“A source of inspiration to oppressed peoples all over the world.”
He also said: “Although it has come at the advanced age of 95, Madiba’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 … “
|Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary-General|
“The world has lost a visionary leader, a courageous voice for justice, and a clear moral compass. By showing us that the path to freedom and human dignity lies in love, wisdom and compassion for one another, Nelson Mandela stands as an inspiration to us all.
“I shall never forget his expansive smile and gentle demeanour, nor his steely determination and wonderful sense of humour. I have lost a dear friend. While I mourn the loss of one of Africa’s most distinguished leaders, Madiba’s legacy beckons us to follow his example to strive for human rights, reconciliation and justice for all.”
|Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh|
“A giant among men has passed away. This is as much India’s loss as South Africa’s. He was a true Gandhian,” Singh’s office said on Twitter after the news of Mandela’s death.”His life and work will remain a source of eternal inspiration for generations to come. I join all those who are praying for his soul.”
Source: News Agencies